Sydney FC Accepts Griffiths Suspension

Sydney FC will not be appealing the three-match suspension handed down to Joel Griffiths but has asked Football Federation Australia (FFA) for clarification on the Match Review Panel (MRP) process amid concerns about the timing of the suspension.

Sydney FC will not be appealing the three-match suspension handed down to Joel Griffiths but has asked Football Federation Australia (FFA) for clarification on the Match Review Panel (MRP) process amid concerns about the timing of the suspension.

“Sydney FC will not be appealing the decision to suspend Joel Griffiths for three matches and we are disappointed in what happened,” said Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata. “We support appropriate and consistent actions that are taken to support and protect match officials.

“We have also asked FFA for clarification on the timing of the notification and subsequent suspension as we believe the process in this instance was inconsistent with previous MRP cases and raises concerns for all A-League clubs and players.”

Griffiths received the three-match ban for comments allegedly directed at the assistant referee (linesman) in the Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory match at AAMI Park, played on Saturday 26 January.

The comments were not included in the match reports of the referee (Chris Beath), the Match Commissioner or the Match Review Panel member who watched the match.

The issue was not discussed or ruled on by the Match Review Panel following the match, even taking into consideration the Public Holiday on Monday.

Sydney FC was informed of the allegation when it received official notification on Thursday afternoon and was informed of the suspension at 5pm on Friday afternoon, after the team had departed for Newcastle.

The team had prepared all week expecting Joel Griffiths to play in the match until he was suspended for the clash - six days after the incident took place.

“Sydney FC has no cause for complaint with the integrity or the capabilities of the MRP members but it is concerned about the process that has been undertaken in suspending Joel Griffiths and has raised those concerns with the FFA,” Pignata said.

“The Match Officials, Match Commissioner and Match Review Panel member tasked with watching the match all went through their due process without raising the issue involving Joel Griffiths.

“We support the process as it is outlined to all clubs before the start of the season but it seems that process was not followed.

“The MRP is a panel that adjudicates on incidents independent of the FFA taking into consideration the reports of Match Officials and the Match Commissioner and has the ability to request match footage. Who else is involved in the process? Can the MRP now be asked to adjudicate on issues retrospective of the event that clouds its independence?

“There are a lot of questions that I think all clubs and players would like answered.”

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