Mark Bridge to miss two games

Sydney FC will be without striker Mark Bridge for two matches as there is no realistic avenue to appeal the decision handed down by the FFA’s Match Review Panel (MRP) yesterday

Sydney FC will be without striker Mark Bridge for two matches as there is no realistic avenue to appeal the decision handed down by the FFA-s Match Review Panel (MRP) yesterday.

Under the FFA Disciplinary Regulations a player or club is not entitled to appeal a MRP decision by referring the matter to the Disciplinary Committee unless the player receives a suspension over the minimum (two matches in Mark Bridge-s case) or it can prove that “exceptional circumstances” exist.

A player or club can not claim “exceptional circumstances” in relation to a decision taken by a Match Official during the match, the conduct of other players or officials, the significance of the match or the significance of any matches the player will miss.

Under the FFA Disciplinary Regulations, there are no legitimate grounds for Sydney FC to appeal the decision, or state a case in Mark Bridge-s defence in relation to the incident, the actions of Rodrigo Vargas immediately before the incident or the actions of Rodrigo Vargas immediately following the incident.

With that in mind, Sydney FC will accept the decision.

“We are disappointed that Mark will miss Saturday-s first home game of the season against Brisbane Roar and the trip to Adelaide, which are two very important games for the Club,” said Sydney FC CEO Dirk Melton.

“With the way the FFA Disciplinary Regulations are structured there is no realistic avenue for Sydney FC to appeal the decision of the Match Review Panel or to state a case in Mark-s defence.

“Mark was standing his ground trying to charge down a free kick when he was illegally taken out of the game by a Melbourne Victory player. From the footage that has been presented to the Club we don-t believe there was conclusive evidence to highlight there was contact to the throat of the player as Mark was trying to push him aside to take up his position and challenge for the ball.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our Club to draw a line in the sand and say we won-t dive. It is important for all in the game to acknowledge that Australians do not look favourably on anyone in sport who deliberately tries to milk a free kick or penalty. This is something that I believe we need to place greater scrutiny on in order for the game to be the best it can be in this country.”

Sydney FC takes on Brisbane Roar at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night (15 October) in the first home game of the season. Kick off is at 7.45pm.