The response of Adelaide United’s Club Chairman, Greg Griffin, on the Iacopo La Rocca sanction.
The decision of the Appeal Tribunal is but a small part of our general dissatisfaction with the Match Review Panel (MRP) process. The current process is archaic and does not go anywhere near meeting contemporary standards and expectations of the key parties in this process, being the Players and the Clubs, which demand that the FFA when exercising their powers as the determinants of guilt and innocence in on field issues do so in an acceptable way.
As it stands a player is charged, given a very short period of time in which to file a written response and then his guilt or innocence is determined by three persons appointed by the FFA without the Player or his employer, the Club, being given the right to be heard or to call valuable evidence to show reasonable doubt so as to possibly secure an acquittal.
To exacerbate the clear denial of natural justice to the player under the current Rules when he determines to Appeal the outcome the Rules prohibit the Appeal Body from dealing with the issue of guilt but restricts the hearing to what is the appropriate match penalty which is a minimum of two games notwithstanding how, as a matter of fact and law, the decision of guilt was arrived at.
The most recent decision handed down yesterday by even goes so far as to say that when they sit as an Appellate Body they are not required to have regard to previous decisions as to penalties for other offences.The concept of following relevant precedent, a cornerstone of Westminster law, has apparently been removed from any FFA constituted Appeal Tribunal.
We are just wasting our time and resources in Appealing. Player, Iacopo La Rocca, should never have been convicted in our view, let alone suspended for three weeks. Other players who received much lower penalties for acts that were far more violent, deliberate, and caused harm to others must feel very fortunate if this incident warranted a guilty verdict let alone a three game suspension.
Adelaide United, as it always does, will accept the sanction but we will be calling an urgent meeting of the Clubs’ Chairmen to demand that these MRP Regulations be the subject of an immediate review to ensure the Hyundai A-League 2016 Grand Final is not compromised by a decision from a referral by the MRP, which is arrived at using clearly unsatisfactory Rules.
Of great concern to the Chairmen that I have discussed this serious issue with is that the yobbo in the crowd that throws a bottle or lets off a flare has now better rights of representation and natural justice before any FFA convened Tribunal than does a player charged with an offence by the MRP or the Club which has invested many millions of dollars in putting a team together to attempt to win the Hyundai A-League Championship.
Adelaide United Football Club