Posts tagged ‘perth glory’

The Blame Game

Perth Glory find themselves once more in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The club having received its second show cause notice from the Football Federation of Australia.

This is no surprise to many. The first show cause notice being issued in December and we covered this in our piece FFA Backed Into A Corner. 

At that time Perth Glory CEO Jason Brewer and coach Kenny Lowe were locked in a room working out the best way to respond, a move that implied the coach was aware that the club’s administration had breached the $2.55million salary cap. At the time he managed to stay focussed on the job and results continued to go the club’s way. A dip in form until Josh Risdon’s winner against Western Sydney Wanderers maybe showed that the off field issues were beginning to take their toll.

Maybe the realisation has dawned on some of the players that if they have indeed been receiving money “under the table” has huge tax implications. Implications that could lead to a spell in prison if the Australian Tax Office feel that they have been deliberately defrauded.

Perth Glory have been asked to respond to allegations on the following issues: Payments outside of the Standard Player Contract, Payments to a player’s family member, Payments of player agents’ fees, Payment of a third party sponsorship, Pre-payment to a player, Payment of travel costs, Accommodation allowances, and Provision of motor vehicles.

Interesting there are at present no mentions of players being paid into overseas bank accounts, which a club insider has alleged has happened. With the Australian Tax Office giving people a moratorium recently to declare earnings overseas that are paid into a foreign bank account one would hope that the players made the relevant declarations. With new communication between a number of countries if this has indeed happened, then these earnings will soon be found.

Looking at the FFA’s questions who is to blame? The players for accepting the payments? The player agents for encouraging the club to make such payments? The CEO? The Owner of the club? Or maybe the FFA for continuing with the salary Cap?

Word is that the CEO Jason Brewer will be the man to fall on his sword and that is to be expected if the club is found guilty of the breaches. It has been reported that owner Tony Sage has distanced himself from this latest scandal. Yet his CEO Jason Brewer said on Not The Footy Show, when we were on air, that he had daily conversations with Tony Sage. That being the case surely he would have advised the owner as to the arrangements that had been negotiated between players and the club?

Of course the FFA’s investigations are not purely into this season. Which brings into question Mr Sage’s choice of CEO’s and the fact that when the club had a purge on staff following the infamous Hatt Report they removed the one man who understood the FFA salary Cap rules. Maybe that was where everything went wrong?

There are many who believe that the Salary Cap is in fact to blame. The reasons for its implementation made perfect sense. The idea being to have all clubs operating on the same level and not extending themselves beyond their means. The trouble is the club have to spend the money. The end result is very average players are being paid more money than their talent warrants. The knock-on affect of that is it pushes up the expectations of other less talented players.

Another example and in Perth Glory’s case advocated by the FFA is that of the Marquee player. The FFA broke its own competition rules to allow the Perth Glory to upgrade captain Michael Thwaite to a Marquee player status; section 7.23 “A Club cannot 1. (a) change the status of a Player on the Player Roster;”  Section 7.18 reads “A Club must apply to FFA for approval of a prospective Marquee Player, Homegrown Player, Guest Player, Replacement Player or Contracted NYL Player using the relevant Prescribed Form before it concludes any contractual negotiations with such prospective Marquee Player,”

Nothing against Michael Thwaite personally but a Marquee player is meant to be a player that helps bring in extra fans through the gate, or is a stand out player clearly a cut above the rest on the park. Very few defenders will pull in extra punters, a few would but the are few and far between, Paolo Maldini is one that immediately comes to mind who would have, John Terry and Gerard Pique are two more. The question is should Michael Thwaite have been approved as a Marquee player? Is he a big enough player even in Australia? He is undoubtedly consistent at this level, but he is not one of the first defenders on the team sheet when Ange Postecoglou is making out his team list for the Socceroos. By allowing Perth Glory to make him a Marquee player have the FFA not exacerbated the situation and pushed up expectations of players and agents and forced clubs to pay more to secure a player?

It may seem unfair to single out Michael Thwaite who has served the club well this season and been consistent week in week out. Another example would be Matt McKay at Brisbane Roar. McKay burst onto the scene with Brisbane Strikers in the NSl and was a key component with the Brisbane Roar when they won back-to-back titles. He then left for Glasgow Rangers at the worst time possible as the Scottish giant was going through its financial troubles and was relegated from the Scottish Premier League. He moved to South Korea and then to China where he struggled for form. His two year contract was terminated after six months by mutual consent. He then came back to Brisbane as a Marquee signing aged 30. Did his career warrant him being a Marquee signing? Does Matt Mckay bring extra fans through the turnstiles? Or was this just reward for a local boy who had served the city so well? There are more players who fall into this category.

So are the FFA partly to blame for approving these Marquee status players, for forcing clubs to use the majority of the salary Cap and pay players more than their career experience and performances may warrant?

Whatever the answer, if Perth Glory are found guilty and indications are that they will be, a new debate will unfold once the punishment is handed down as to who will take the blame on their shoulders. As the supporter of a club who broke the rules in the UK and were punished severely, players will leave, as will administrators, but as is always the case, the fans will remain. They will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start supporting again, believing quite rightly that they deserve better.

 

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April 2, 2015 at 10:14 am 7 comments

Monumental Decision

As someone who has gone through testicular cancer the Dylan Tombides Foundation is a great initiative to remind young healthy men that cancer is undiscerning and that your life can be snatched away from you ate any time.

Dylan unfortunately  lost his battle with testicular cancer in 2014 aged just 20. West Ham United the club which he was signed with in England’s Premier league paid him the biggest honour by retiring his shirt number, 38, an honour that previously had only been bestowed on former captain of the club and England when they won the World Cup, Bobby Moore.

Tombides joined West Ham aged 15 and was tipped for great things having represented Australia at U17 and U23 level, but sadly he never lived to fulfil his full potential.

There is talk that a statue may be erected in his memory outside NIB Stadium. Just over a week ago Liberal MP Ian Britza presented a letter, written by Socceroos’ Captain Mile Jedinak on behalf of the DT38 Foundation, to Premier Colin Barnett asking the Western Australian State Government to fund the estimated $100,000 cost of the monument.

This does raise a number of questions, if the state government agrees to fund such a monument, will they not be opening the floodgates for monuments to other young athletes whose lives end abruptly and prematurely? Western Australia has produced many remarkable individuals who have contributed greatly to society, yet few have such a memorial funded by the state.

The sum quoted is a great deal of money and one cannot help feeling that such a sum of money could be used far more effectively in order to alert young men from the ages of 16-35 to be aware of the signs of testicular cancer, because if caught early it is a very curable disease.

If a statue is to be erected, is NIB stadium the best place for it? Sure Dylan was a talented footballer so there is a link to NIB Stadium, home of Perth Glory, but Dylan never played for the A-league side, so will a statue have the resonance and desired effect at the this ground rather than say Stirling Lions where he played his junior football?

As this is a young man’s disease one cannot help thinking that the statue should be in a location where many young men would pass it on a daily basis, so that every day as they walk past the loss of one so young resonates. If it makes one man a week go for a check up, and saves more than one life a year it would be worth it. Tucked away at a stadium used roughly one day a fortnight, one wonders if it would have the same important impact.

According to the DT38 Foundation website the mission of the Foundation is “To provide testicular cancer support and awareness through education and opportunities.” The vision is to ‘Change the way testicular cancer is diagnosed.’ If that is truly the case one has to ask how much a statue – as lovely a gesture as it is – will help the Foundation achieve those goals.

As the website quite rightly states delay is deadly. Education is the key. So if we are to truly honour Dylan such decisions need to be thought through very carefully and some of the emotion needs to be taken out. What truly is the best way of making sure his life did not end in vain, what is the best way of ensuring that his legacy is that in passing he saves the lives of other young men?

April 1, 2015 at 8:39 am 1 comment

FFA Right to Say “No” To Asia

Football fans in Australia will no doubt have breathed a sigh of relief this morning when reading on the World Game website that the FFA have rejected a move from the A-League club owners to expand into Asia. This is the right move by the game’s governing body despite the fact that they still have plenty of work to do to get their house in order in Australia.

The news that the move was supported by Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets, Adelaide United, Perth Glory, Western Sydney Wanderers, Central Coast Mariners and the City Football Group, which controls Melbourne City, was no great surprise. Seven out of the ten A-League franchises is more than anything proof that the Franchise model adopted by the FFA when they created the A-League is flawed.

In fact this should be the point where the FFA seriously considers finding a way to move away from such a model.

The news that seven club owners are advocating such a move is proof that this is purely about business and nothing to do with football or player development.

Central Coast Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth is quoted as saying “Expansion north can tap into tens of millions of football fans, significant commercial opportunity and subsequently a raft of top EPL marquee players who have already expressed an interest in helping grow football across the region.If we truly want football to become the biggest sport in Australia we need to be more ambitious and this platform would not only help us achieve that but put domestic Aussie football on the global stage.”

It is hard to agree with his sentiments. Very few A-League clubs are likely to garner support from regions in Asia. They are many many miles from having the regional pull, let alone global pull of clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool. Most A-League clubs have struggled to create supporter bases in cities outside of their home one within Australia, so why should we believe that they can achieve this in Asia where fans focus is first the Premier League and then their local clubs? This is another key factor, most football fans – Manchester United probably being the exception – support their local team, and follow them above and beyond all others. Football has and always will be about local identity. If you fail to tap into your local market you will never succeed.

Ironically Mr Charlesworth owns a club where they have tapped into the local market and created a local identity better than most in the A-League, however he and his staff are still unable to make this work. Whose fault is that? Have they set unrealistic goals and budgets? If there was more local involvement, or dare we say local ownership would this help swell the gate on a match day? Would this make people more determined to see the club succeed and climb out of their armchairs and go to the ground?

What also seems contradictory in Mr Charlesworth’s comments is the fact that the clubs want to tap into the “significant commercial opportunity” in Asia, yet want to bring washed up EPL stars out to play in the A-League. Case in point even though he was not an EPL player, Alessandro del Piero was finished as a top class player when he came to Australia. He could not run, could still pass exquisitely and strike a deadfall with precision, and dare we say fall over an outstretched leg convincingly. Officially he cost Sydney FC $1million a season; a club source has said it was closer to $3million. He was good for PR and media, but was he good for the A-League? He went to India -not renowned for its football – to play in the new Indian Super League and in four games they realised he was finished and he did not play another game. Yet in Australia we still have people lauding him playing here and his performances. If we are to move the game forward there has to be more honesty. Fans do not like being conned.

Ex EPL players in decline are not what the A-League needs. If these owners want to tap into the Asian market why are we not seeing more Asian talent coming to play in the A-League? The reason is simple. The club owners, and to be honest most Australian football fans know very little about Asian football and the leagues, even though we are a part of the Asian Football Confederation.

Mr Charlesworth is right to talk about ambition, but he is naive if he thinks a few ex EPL players at the end of their careers are going to help raise the profile of the A-League overseas. With so much football on television around the world, fans know whether a player still has it, or if his career is on the wane. They cannot be fooled. Hence the massive crowd drop offs when the likes of Robbie Fowler, Harry Kewell and del Piero played their first and second games. As the NSL proved these players are a very short term solution, and one would have to say ultimately cost the game money that could be invested more wisely.

A prime example of a less known player showing what he can do in the A-League and also showing where the A-League stands in terms of standard is Perth Glory’s Andy Keogh. He has been outstanding in his first season. Yes, he played in the Premier League but was a fringe player, yet he still has International pedigree, and in truth he would have been fairly unknown before coming to Australia. Yet he has come while he still has a good few years playing at the highest level in him, and he has been outstanding. The test for him will be to maintain the standard he has set in season two in Australia. Often that drop in standard starts to show in a player’s second season. Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha are two other examples of players who have played in top leagues, although struggled for regular first team football, but who have been stars in this league.

Asia is definitely not the way to go at this point in time in the A-League’s development. We need to have the clubs on more solid ground financially before such a move. Also rivalries are beginning to evolve in the A-League; and we are not talking about the contrived ones such as the lame “desert derby.” Rivalries take time and often arise out of what appears an insignificant incident, ten years in the A-League is beginning to see this becoming a reality. To go to Asia would dilute these.

If this went ahead when the Asian sides came to play in Australia one has to question whether these same owners, who moan about home crowd attendances, will not in fact witness more games with low gates; ultimately costing them more money. The average fan in Australia knows little about these teams and so the game will have little meaning or relevance. Meaning without extensive marketing – another cost clubs do not want to pay – that these would be the games that a family and on a budget will opt to miss. Crowds at many of the Asian Champions League games are proof that fans are not that engaged with Asian teams, purely due to a lack of knowledge on the Asian leagues and teams.

Let us get our house in order here in Australia before looking to head overseas. Let us see the clubs on strong foundations, marketing of the clubs and the league lifted to another level before trying to match it with our Asian counterparts. Let us show our keenness to integrate with Asia by importing more Asian players, showing more Asian football on television and having more Asian coverage in our papers and online. We need to show Asia more respect, rather than simply see them as a way to make money.

Ultimately though we need to see clubs move away from the current ownership model. There has to be more community involvement, without this, as has been seen around the country, some fans and sponsors will not walk through the turnstiles as long as they feel people with no genuine passion or understanding of the game own ‘their club.’

March 28, 2015 at 3:09 pm 1 comment

A Response from Football West.

As a result of our piece Rules are to be Broken in – In Football Anyway we received a phone call from the Chairman of Fooball West defending the position taken by his board. As we have always done, we gave him the right to reply and so now publish the response from Football West’s board.

Dear Mr Morrison

We note your blog with respect to the recent Football West Board appointments with some concern and advise that all Football West board appointments were made in compliance with the Football West Constitution. Furthermore, we note that there were only two nominations from the WA football public for two vacant board positions and the two candidates were duly elected. The Football West board consists of 6 Elected Directors which must be voted in by the Football West Members and have a term of 4 years and 3 Appointed Directors who are appointed by the Football West board and have a term of two years. Elected Directors can stand for two consecutive terms of 4 years after which they must retire for a two year period unless they are elected Chairman, under which that person can serve on further 4 year term. Appointed Directors are brought onto the board to compliment or add to the existing skill set and their two year term can be renewed at the discretion of the board on an ongoing basis. There is no article in the Football West constitution restricting a retiring Elected Director from becoming an Appointed Director.

Mr Mackay is a long serving and well respected member of the football community with particular knowledge and expertise in dealing with the Social Master and Amateurs. In the absence of any other member of the football community coming forward with the requisite skills, the Football West board acted in compliance with the Football West constitution and made Mr Mackay an Appointed Director.

The board of Football West absolutely rejects the inference that any of its conduct was deliberately in conflict with the Football West constitution or that its conduct was not in the best interests of the game.

With respect to Mr Lui Giuliani, he remains a passionate supporter of Perth Glory FC but he currently does not have an official role and has not acted in any such official capacity at Perth Glory that would disqualify himself from being a Director of Football West. We have contacted Perth Glory who we understand will correct the oversight on their website with respect to Mr Giuliani.

Yours faithfully

Liam Twigger
Chairman
Football West

As mentioned in our piece we took legal advice which stated that Mr Mackay’ reappointment was unconstitutional. Football West’s legal advice stated that it was. During the discussion with Mr Twigger it was agreed by both parties that the current Constitution was extremely clumsily worded, leading to two legal experts disagreeing on the interpretation of its meaning. Hopefully in his role as Chairman Mr Twigger will now move for the Constitution to be reworded so that the conditions are no longer ambiguous.

It would also be welcomed if he would reduce the term of office to a more reasonable 2- 3 year term in line with most other boards. His predecessor Kevin Campbell admitted at an AGM that this was only set up initially to give the board some continuity in its early formation. However it has never been changed by the two Chairmen since.

With regards to Mr Guiliani’s appointment Not the Footy Show asked Perth Glory if he was still involved with the club in an official capacity, – not whether he signed off on the accounts in a professional capacity – and on 03 February the club advised that Mr Guiliani was still a part of their set up. At the time of publishing Mr Twigger’s letter Mr Guiliani is still listed as being a part of Perth Glory’s advisory board. It would be good if the club were to put out an official statement confirming that he no longer has any involvement with the club in any capacity to avoid any confusion, and the Football West board any embarrassment.

 

February 12, 2015 at 2:20 am 1 comment

Rules Are to Be Broken – In Football Anyway.

Hopefully no one in football in Western Australia will complain about the way FIFA runs football, as if they are not prepared to influence the game being run constitutionally in their own backyard, then it becomes clear why the game is riddled with bad management from the global head to grassroots.

It was incredible to read that Football West had appointed Rob Mackay back to the Board and that he had “renewed his Football West involvement with his appointment to the Board at the first meeting of 2015.”

Rob Mackay has been a great servant to the game in Western Australia, and is a man respected by many within the game, but his accepting this appointment is a very sad day for football. Mr Mackay was a man who it always appeared did things right and always by the rules, but his appointment is a breach of the rules he should know, having served on the Board of Football West for two terms and a total of eight years.

The Football West Constitution states quite clearly:Perth Glory

10.11 Maximum term of office

  1. (a)  Subject to article 10.12, an Elected Director may not serve more than two consecutive terms as a Director.
  2. (b)  If an Elected Director has served two consecutive terms, they may not be elected as a Director again until the second annual general meeting after the end of their second term of office.

The exception that could apply to Mr MacKay would be if he were appointed Chairman of the Board.

10.12 Exception to article 10.11 Despite article 10.11:

  1. (a)  if an Elected Director has served two consecutive terms as a Director but has not served as Chairman, or has served only one of those terms as Chairman, that person is eligible for election as Chairman for one further consecutive four year term. After the end that further term, they may not be elected again as a Director until the second subsequent annual general meeting;

This does not appear to be the case.

This is sad as it comes following other appointments that appear to be in breach of the constitution. Perth Glory Deputy Chairman Lui Giuliani was appointed to the Board of Football West. Another appointment that goes against the constitution. Mr Giuliani should have been disqualified from standing for the Board as he holds a disqualifying position (Section 10.4) as he holds an “official position” with a club. As Perth Glory have a team in the National Premier Leagues a competition under the control of Football West, as a Board member of that club he cannot sit on the board, just as any other board member of any club in Football West competitions is excluded. This was an issue we raised in December 2014 (Words with No Meaning) only to be told that Mr Giuliani was no longer on the Board of Perth Glory. Having subsequently checked with the club we have been advised as per their website, he is still deputy Chairman! Hopefully new appointee Jason Petkovic has now resigned from his role on the Committee at Cockburn City as otherwise like Mr Giuliani he too is in breach of the constitution.

The questions those involved in the game at any level should be asking is how can this happen? On the Board we have Anna Liscia who is a lawyer and an elected member of the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia, surely she is well aware of the constitution? There are two qualified men from the heavily regulated Finance industry in Chairman Liam Twigger and Sherif Andrawes, the latter is Chairman of respected accounting firm BDO(WA), both of these men should understand why a constitution is there and why it must be adhered to. Also new board appointee is respected journalist Gary Adshead, who as the Political Editor and investigative journalist at the West Australian has spent time exposing politicians and citizens who rort the system.

So why do these respected individuals fail to adhere to the constitution? What is it about administrators in Football who once appointed appear to ignore the rules that have been put in place to protect the game as a whole?

It comes back to a regular question who is policing the running of the game? Should it be FIFA or closer to home the FFA? Should it be the Department of Sport and Recreation? One would feel it should be both of these. Certainly the Department of Sport and Recreation should be ensuring that sporting bodies are run properly and in accordance with constitutions bound by the Corporations Act prior to handing over funding. However as we all know that does not happen.

Why is it Football appears to continually follow such a path at all levels? It truly is baffling. However if the masses do nothing then nothing will ever change!

February 3, 2015 at 5:37 pm 2 comments

Scorchers and Perth Public Burnt

Perth people are accused of being parochial by many of the other states in Australia, and being the most isolated city in the world that tendency should be forgiven. However lately it feels very much as if this great sporting state is no longer a part of Australia.

In football Perth Glory were snubbed the chance to host the inaugural FFA Cup final, because the game would be too late for the television audiences over East; thanks to Australian Summer time and some states moving the clocks forward and others choosing not to.

Then the state was completely overlooked in everyday when it came to the Asia Cup currently being hosted successfully on the East coast. No ambassadors in Western Australia, no fan parks, and ABC television advertising every Socceroos game live, but then showing it on delay.

Now cricket has to suffer a similar indignity. The Perth Scorchers have been advised that they must play the final of the Big Bash League in Canberra despite earning the right to host the final for the fourth successive season.

Gone will be the support of Western Australian cricket fans and they will have to play in front of a crowd that is bound to have a very strong bias towards the Sydney Sixers. Is this Cricket Australia’s way of saying they want the title to be won by an Eastern States team?

In the first three years of the BBL, the highest-ranked team staged the final. On all three occasions, the Perth Scorchers were that team and hosted the match at the WACA Ground. Home advantage was no help in the first two seasons where they lost to the Sixers and Brisbane Heat before defeating the Hobart Hurricanes last season.

When the Scorchers beat the Melbourne Stars on Sunday, after the top-placed Adelaide Strikers lost to the Sixers on Saturday, it should have been Perth hosting the final at the WACA once again. However it appears that the decision had been made months ago.

Despite the WACA hosting no games until India plays England in the last Tri-Series clash on Friday this week Cricket Australia had booked in the BBL final for Manuka Oval in Canberra.

Cricket Australia has sais via a spokesperson that “It is important to note that staging the BBL Final in the neutral venue of Canberra is a one-off as a result of Australia hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup. Next year, we will revert to the final being played in the home city of the top-qualifying team.”

It does make senses but Western Australians understandably feel ripped off. With no Test match at the WACA why couldn’t a T20 final be played in Perth having won the right? If the WACA knew that this was to be the case, maybe they too are at fault and should have communicated the likelihood of the final being played interstate before the team made it through to the showpiece game. Maybe Cricket Australia could subsidise some airfares for WACA members to make their way to Canberra as an act of goodwill. That however is never likely to happen.

Sporting bodies in Australia need to be aware that Western Australia is beginning to grow tired of being the whipping boy when it comes to live broadcasts and being a part of national competitions. One can sense a backlash from fans coming unless things improve in the next 18 months.

January 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

Turning Up The Heat

To play any sport in extreme temperatures today is nothing short of foolish, yet sadly once again we witnessed the safety of the players and officials put at risk with the scheduling in the A-League.

Last night’s A-League fixture in Perth against Adelaide United was scheduled for a 5:00pm kick off local time; 8:00pm Sydney and Melbourne time. Because of scorching heat the game was sensibly pushed back to 5:30pm.

Perth is always hot at this time of year but yesterday witness the city experience its third hottest January day on record. The barometer hit 44.4 degrees just before 2:00pm, and was still a high 36.3 degrees when the game kicked off at 5:30pm.

A year ago then Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards complained of kick off times in Perth and how there had to be flexibility when temperatures were high when marquee signing William Gallas made his debut. On that occasion the temperature had peaked at 37 but was 32 when the game started. In 2012 a game against the Central Coast Mariners went ahead with the mercury hovering around 36 degrees in Perth. Again the coaches complained, but no action was taken.

This is nothing new in the old NSL in 2003 Stewart Petrie made his debut for Northern Spirit in sweltering heat in Perth having arrived straight off a plane from Scotland. He suffered a great deal from the heat and dehydration as a result.

Last night Perth Glory’s Chris Harold had to leave the field in the 24th minute due to the effects of the heat according to team mates post match. How long can this continue? Is it going to take a tragedy before anything is done?

To be fair both Perth Glory and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) had called for yesterday’s game to be delayed further than 5.30pm. Their please fell on deaf ears with the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) as apparently they do not like games to air in the East later than 8pm on Fox.

So who would be held accountable should the unthinkable have happened? Would it be the clubs for sending their players out to play? One legal expect says that if the clubs had proof of them airing their concerns to the FFA prior to the game then ‘they would most likely be absolved of responsibility.’ However our legal expert advised that knowing the temperatures in Perth, it could be argued that the club should never have signed off on the fixtures and a kick off time of 5:00pm to start with, unless they put a rider clause to state that kick off could be moved if temperatures were high.

Assuming the club did both of these things the onus goes back on the FFA. The television station, who works closely with the games administrators ‘is unlikely to be held accountable,’ as once again it is the administrators who sign off on the final fixtures for the season.

So what about the role of the referee? It is the referee’s role to ensure the safety of players, other officials and spectators. This means that he is entitled to make decisions on safety concerns about the match atmosphere or play. The options at hand are suspending the play, addressing the problem or abandoning the match. Those events interfering with the match are then recorded by the referee.

So could the referee be held accountable? Apparently there is a possibility that he could be. The key issue again would be whether players or coaches had raised concerns to the referee prior to the game kicking off and he had chosen to ignore those concerns. It would then mean that the player concerned would have to prove that this was the case. According to legal advice ‘this would be hard to prove, but is a possibility.’

However this issue could take on a whole different level if it was discovered that referees were under pressure from either the FFA, or the television broadcaster to start the game as scheduled. ‘This would be a different matter entirely,’ was the feedback we received and if this were the scenario the broadcaster could become in embroiled in a legal issue.

These very issues raised their head in December 2010 when the Central Coast Mariners took on Gold Coast United at Skilled park. The pitch was waterlogged before kick off and in some areas there were pools of water. Questions were raised as to whether the game should go ahead. The word at the time was that pressure was put on referee Chris Beath to start the match. He did, but after 20 minutes had to abandon it when standing water was preventing the ball from rolling.

This is a very serious issue. In the interests of the game and those who play it – and not forgetting the spectators too- all of the A-League clubs need to discuss this before next season and be agreed upon a course of action. It could be any of the remaining nine teams who find themselves playing in Perth in plus 36 degree heat, and it could be anyone of their players who is affected by the heat. That is why all should be united on this issue. It is not just one that impacts on Perth Glory.

January 6, 2015 at 9:39 am 3 comments

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