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Sacked Western Sydney Wanderers boss Babbel slams 'weak' A-League, referees

Markus Babbel
Former Wanderers boss Markus Babbel has been highly critical of A-League standards and referees.

Sacked Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel says referee standards are incredibly bad in a "weak" A-League.

Babbel, who was axed as the Wanderers' coach on Jan. 20, has launched a scathing attack on the A-League in an interview with German newspaper Bild.

Babbel was cited twice last December and fined by Football Federation Australia for making critical comments about referees.

"What is going on here is gambling under the open sky," he told the newspaper. "I was stolen eight points this season, it is incredible how bad the referees are doing.

"If you know our referees and see what's going on here, that's blatant. My mistake was that I publicly denounced it early on and then became the focus.

"But honestly, I did not understand until the end what they are whistling."

Asked about the level of the A-League, Babbel replied: "To be honest, weak.

"The pace is slow, there are many technical mistakes. You can see a good game from time to time but that's more of an exception.

"Also, because the training conditions are not good, last season we had to prepare in changing rooms and train in places that had little to do with professional football.

"Fortunately, the infrastructure at my former club is getting better."

Babbel said the mentality of Australian players surprised him, suggesting many were too comfortable.

"We only had a certain budget, we were only allowed to have five foreign ones [players], however this also led to problems," he said.

"The level of the league suffers from the [foreigners] regulation because the result is that there are 19, 20 Australians playing in each club who can choose their clubs.

"There are 22-year-olds who are already playing at [their] fifth club. In general, the mentality surprised me a little.

"In my [playing] time, the Australians I played with were real mentality monsters, players like Mark Schwarzer or Mark Viduka.

"Today, these characters play football or rugby in Australia.

"Football is a rich sport for the elite here. The annual fee is easily $2,500 so the parents are already considering whether to invest it."

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