Sydney FC coach Frank Farina will no doubted be fined for the comments he made on his website, which would be extremely harsh as he is, if the powers that be asked most football fans, absolutely right; and since when just because you are a football coach do you lose your freedom of speech?
Farina was upset that key player Joel Griffiths was suspended for three matches by the FFA’s match review panel for allegedly swearing at an official.
Farina is understandably upset that the club were alerted to the charges on Thursday a full five days after the match in which the incident occurred. To make matters worse the club has not been advised who lodged the complaint, which seems ridiculous as well as unfair.
Farina wrote on his website, “It can’t be the referees as they have their long held practice for doing that: they’re called yellow and red cards. But even if that fails, they have a match report which gets submitted within hours of the match finishing and this particular match report says nothing about this alleged incident.”
Farina went on to ask “Does it mean that anyone can contact FFA about an incident they might have noticed in a match, to have FFA deal with it in their own unique way? When does a match end now? Monday when the MRP meets? Five days later? Six days? Five years perhaps? If it’s so open-ended, should clubs add to their competitive strategies by employing someone to review matches with the aim of getting an opposition’s key player suspended?”
When the A League announced this review system we raised many of these issues, saying that there had to be very clear rules under which the the review panel must operate. Who has ever heard of a person in a democratic system being accused of an offence where the person making the accusation remains anonymous?
This is an issue where all the clubs and all fans should unite behind Farina to make sure clear rules a set in place. If Farina is fined for his comments then we know the game is in trouble, as his comments are true and are being made for the good of the game. So why should he be punished for saying something that is so obviously correct.