It would appear that the FFA are feeling the heat from the suspension of Joel Griffiths based on originally an anonymous complaint of him abusing an official. In a statement released this afternoon head of the Hyundai A League Damien de Bohun is quoted as saying:
“It doesn’t matter how the incident is reported. If the Laws of the Game and the A-League Disciplinary Regulations are breached and the incident falls within the jurisdiction of the MRP, we have an obligation to act. We were dealing with a red card offence, corroborated by video evidence and the admission of a player.”
Now abusing officials should never be tolerated, and let us not forget that a few years ago Griffiths got off with no penalty when he appeared to lash out at a referee’s assistant, but one wonders where the FFA’s case would stand if the player had denied the accusations.
The FFA statement goes on to say “In relation to the delayed referral of the Griffiths matter to the MRP, de Bohun said the circumstances were unusual ” We were dealing with an incident that was initially missed by the routine procedures and that affected the normal timelines” The charges against the player were laid five days after the said offence.
This does not clarify anything. How long after a game can the Match Review Panel look at a game before deciding to charge a player. If they scanned through footage of every game every weekend and were able to lip read they would find a multitude of players swearing at referees, but are probably sharp enough to realise that they cannot suspend them all or the A league will struggle to fulfil its weekly fixtures.
Instead of defending their actions as this press release has tried to do the FFA need to advise the clubs, players and fans as to the time frame in which they must lay accusations or charges against a player. They should also have to reveal who has made the complaint against an individual. This current system is open to abuse and is frustrating to all involved and watching the league. If the rules were clearer then there would be less need to justify your actions. Once again a lack of communication has made one incident into a major issue.