FFA statement on Joel Griffiths

Joel Griffiths's suspension is a message to all players that abusive language towards match officials is unacceptable, according to Head of Hyundai A-League Damien de Bohun.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today confirmed that Sydney FC has decided not to appeal against the imposition of the three-match suspension of Joel Griffiths.

The Match Review Panel (MRP) had cited Griffiths for the red card offence of “Use of offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures against a match official” after an incident in or around the 89th minute of Sydney FC-s game against Melbourne Victory FC on Saturday 26 January.

The player admitted to the offence and this was taken into consideration by the MRP when determining the sanction.

Head of Hyundai A-League, Damien de Bohun, said today that the suspension of Griffiths sent a message to all A-League players that abusive language towards match officials is totally unacceptable.

“Abuse of match officials is a blight on football at every level, from the grassroots to the professional tier,” said de Bohun.

“A-League players have a particular responsibility to behave respectfully towards officials. The players- conduct is on show to tens of thousands of fans on TV and in our venues every week. The example they set - good or bad - is liable to be replicated down the line.

“The vast majority of A-League players are wonderful role models, but we won-t tolerate abusive language, no matter what the circumstances.”

In relation to the delayed referral of the Griffiths matter to the MRP, de Bohun said the circumstances were unusual.

“We were dealing with an incident that was initially missed by the routine procedures and that affected the normal timelines,” he said.

“To be clear, the incident was reported to FFA by several sources later in the week. As with all independent reports, these are vetted by the FFA regulatory officers. In this case the incident warranted referral to the MRP.

“The MRP did not base its decision on an allegation or the independent reports received, but the video footage as confirmed by the player-s admission of the offense.

“It doesn-t matter how the incident is reported. If the Laws of the Game and the A-League Disciplinary Regulations are breached and the incident falls within the jurisdiction of the MRP, we have an obligation to act.

“We were dealing with a red card offence, corroborated by video evidence and the admission of a player.

“As soon as a player is subject to a suspension, competition integrity demands that suspension be served in the next immediate game.”