A can of worms
I thought I had seen or heard it all until last Thursday night.
That was when I got a call from Sydney FC CEO, Tony Pignata, telling me that Joel Griffiths had been cited for foul or abusive language.
"When?" I asked Tony.
He told me it was for an alleged incident around the 88th minute of the match against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park last weekend. You know, the game with a full house of almost 27,000 people, two moments from full time when Melbourne Victory were leading 3-1. Yes, it was so quiet sitting on the bench that you could almost hear a pin drop - so, of course, everyone heard Joel too.
I think you get the point? How could anyone hear what Joel Griffiths allegedly yelled out from the field of play? I didn't. My mate, Ange Postecoglou, didn't. The fourth official didn't. And neither did the assistant referee - who, 28 minutes beforehand, had enough confidence in his own game to let the referee know he had missed an incident with Tiago that led to his second yellow card. In other words, the assistant ref was no shrinking violet.
No journalist raised it at the post-match media conference. FOX Sports didn't play endless replays of it on the night - they were, rightly, more interested in the goals and the spectacular crowd.
And perhaps all that explains why it took FFA five days to get the case together. They not only had to find the incident in the first place, but they must have had expert lip readers in to let them know without any shadow of a doubt what was said.
But what I don't know is just who Joel was shouting at? Me? Ange? Musky? The fourth official? The assistant ref? Maybe the FOX Sports camera operator? Who knows?
So not only does FFA's expert lip readers and Match Review Panel know what was said, they know who it was said to! Five days after the event.
No one condones foul or abusive language but the trouble with this one is that FFA won't say who lodged a complaint.
It can't be the referees as they have their long held practice for doing that: they're called yellow and red cards. But even if that fails, they have a Match Report which gets submitted within hours of the match finishing and this particular Match Report says nothing about this alleged incident.
Is FFA acting on an anonymous complaint? Does it mean that anyone can contact FFA about an incident they might have noticed in a match, to have FFA deal with it in their own unique way? When does a match end now? Monday when the MRP meets? 5 days later? 6 days? 5 years perhaps? If it's so open-ended, should clubs add to their competitive strategies by employing someone to review matches with the aim of getting an opposition's key player suspended?
It's a massive can of worms.
By the way, I was really pleased with the boys last night against Newcastle. They were tough conditions for both teams and it was a hard battle. Terry's red card could happen to anyone. It didn't detract from an overall performance that was pleasing. We're all looking forward to the next two weeks at home.
Hope to see you there.
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Note from Frank
It's a game of opinions and I've always thought everyone's entitled to theirs.