THE VFL has defended the original decision to suspend Western Bulldogs ruckman Will Minson for four matches after his ban was cut to just a fine by the Appeals Board on Thursday night.
Minson fronted the VFL Tribunal earlier this week for intentionally making contact with an umpire and was dealt with harshly by the three-man panel, which made a statement against umpire contact.
There was widespread criticism of the original penalty, given the VFL itself had recommended a financial sanction on the night.
But Minson will now be free to face Greater Western Sydney on Saturday after the Appeals Board of Rick Lewis, Michael Tanner and chairman Ian Hill took just 12 minutes to overturn the Tribunal's decision.
VFL state league and talent manager John Hook defended the original Tribunal's right to make an independent decision and said umpire contact should not be tolerated.
"I think [critics of the decision] forget that the laws of Australian Rules Football … say that deliberate contact to an umpire is a reportable offence and it's got to go to a Tribunal," Hook told Melbourne radio station SEN.
"If this had happened in an AFL game, it wouldn't have gone to a review panel, it would have gone to their Tribunal.
"Tribunals are independent people. They make the decision based on the evidence presented on that particular night.
"So I think there were a lot of ill-informed comments, which was disappointing."
Hook acknowledged the original penalty had been harsh and a record $7500 fine was a fitting result on Thursday night.
He was hopeful the laws on umpire contact were now clearer to players and those considering taking up umpiring.
"Seventy per cent of the umpires on the AFL list come through our system," Hook said.  
"We're trying to attract women umpires into the VFL.
"That rules been there forever and a day, and if we don't protect those rules, you're going to get people not taking up umpiring.
"It's made a clear statement: don't touch umpires … you only put yourself in a position to get reported."