David Gallop & Damien De Bohun must immediately accede to the demands of Australian football supporters, or resign their posts.
This afternoon David Gallop made one of the most stilted, rattled press conferences I've ever seen outside of a political leader vanquished at an election or leadership ballot.
After a week of his flash card reading, empty headed rhetoric spewing minion Damien de Bohun being pilloried by the Australian football media and supporters (both active and non-active) across various forms of media, another example of the anti-football media popped their head over the parapet to take yet another shot at football. Once again, football supporters were compared to terrorists.
As that article filtered through the football community and scorn was poured on both the writer who penned it, and the newspaper that allowed the trash to be published, the FFA organised a press conference for 2pm.
A cautious optimism began to sprout, surely David Gallop would return from his week long Indian junket, right the wrongs, put the flip flopping over bans into the past, declare an independent appeals process, express anger over the leak of the ban list, and to vehemently support the code he runs against the disgraceful actions of the anti-football media, both in publishing the confidential FFA ban list and their ongoing comparison to cold blooded murderers.
The moment he opened up his speech in full flight, the first utterance of "zero tolerance" dashed any of my hopes that the FFA had been listening to the simple demands of the various active supporter groups, and indeed the demands of the wider football community to defend the sport from those who would rather it 'go back to where it came from' because it is 'un-Australian'.
His second sentence destroyed what little goodwill the FFA leadership had to those I saw react, as Gallop casually dismissed the abysmal leak of the ban list, with no apology for his organisation allowing it to be published without any legal intervention. With no acknowledgement of the loss and hurt caused by Rebecca Wilson in her publishing of this private document. He made no defence of the sport against Wilson, Jones or the substandard hack who posted the latest article this morning. It was a lie down, a refusal to do what should have been simple. To defend the sport he runs. I'd call it a dog act, but a dog will fight to the death to protect a member of the pack.
Gallop was spineless.
David Gallop's failure to defend football was an abrogation of his duties to every single person who loves the game. On that fact alone he should quit his post.
The next point was all the proof I needed to confirm my previous position that the FFA simply do not listen. The appeals process which a month ago didn't exist according to Damien de Bohun, then had 'existed all along' and finally 'was being introduced' from last Saturday, only needed "fine tuning". Gallop listed a series of trinkets in an attempt to distract the supporters from the actual issue, that being his complete failure to introduce a transparent, independent banning process. One of those trinkets was a thought bubble of "community service" to reduce a ban. It completely missed the point. If I were unjustly banned, I would not do a second of "community service". It would imply that I agree that I was guilty when I was not. What I would want, is an appeal process that could rightly clear my name.
- It is not morally right that the FFA can ban without an appeal process.
- It is not just that the FFA can ban without giving the banned person the evidence that lead to the ban.
- Letting someone do "community service" to reduce an incorrect ban is not right.
- Having an ex-player on the FFA ban board does not change the fact the system is broken.
- Hatamoto compiling secret dossiers that have no guarantee of staying secret is a breach of privacy waiting to happen.
- It is not justice when a person has to go directly through their club, instead of through the organisation that banned them in the first place.
- It is not right that the FFA require someone to prove their innocence, instead of having their guilt proven by their accuser.
- Another person being banned correctly for using a flare, or invading the pitch or any other negative action does not make an incorrect ban with no appeal justified.
Growth strategy. A soul-less, corporate buzz word that reduces the life long passion one has for football to one of his prized "metrics".
Gallop is a disgrace.
He has no passion for the sport. He has failed to listen to supporters both active and non-active regarding the ban process. He has failed to defend our sport against rampant and disgusting gutter trash members of the anti-football media. This coming in a season where he already angered the PFA with his CBA negotiation tactics. This protest is about more than just the ban process, it is about the FFA and how their organisation reflects an attitude of apathy toward the sport they run.
If Gallop cannot stand up for football his position is untenable and he should resign before he damages the sport even further.
If he refuses, Steven Lowy should give him & De Bohun the tap on the shoulder and appoint someone who actually cares about the sport and will defend it.
The RBB will be boycotting their next match. The Cove have made a statement that they will be non-active and vacating their core bays. Reportedly there are other active support groups who will follow suit with a boycott, walkouts or silent protests.
And this week will not be the end of the protests if Gallop continues to be derelict in his his duty to football.
Super sub Brendon Santalab scored a 65th minute goal that put the Wanderers ahead, with Mitch Nichols providing the sealer in the 90th minute.
The Western Sydney Wanderers produced another dominant performance to go joint top of the A-League despite a late Mariners comeback, with the Red & Black proving too good for the hosts in Gosford this afternoon.
After coming on in the 58th minute for Dario Vidosic, Santalab latched onto a superb through ball by Mitch Nichols, streamed in on goal before firing past Paul Izzo from the edge of the penalty area to open the scoring.
Central Coast came on very strong in the last 10 minutes, throwing men forward in search of an equaliser. Their best chance of the game came from Nick Fitzgerald, who had his shot denied by an outstanding reflex save from Andrew Redmayne that arguably saved all 3 points for the Wanderers.
In the dying seconds of the game the Wanderers finally sealed the match, Jaushua Sotirio drew several defenders, Mitch Nichols was in acres of space on the penalty spot, Sotirio knocked through to the attacking midfielder. Nichols' shot was utterly dreadful, but with Izzo diving to his right, the ball dribbled over the line in one of the worst quality goals in the history of the A-League. Even Nichols himself looked embarrassed to have scored, but in the end they all count and the game was won for the Wanderers.
As with the other matches in this round, the RBB and Yellow Army, the respective active support groups staged their own protests due to the FFA's unjust ban process, and their failure to support football and it's supporters after the vehement and disgusting attacks on the sport from the anti-football media in the past week. The RBB left the ground in the 30th minute, with both the RBB & Yellow Army unveiling protest banners against the FFA. With Damien de Bohun refusing to bring in a just and fair, independent appeal process, and once again failing to defend the supporters, it is likely these protests will continue into further matches of the A-League season.
Central Coast Mariners vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Sunday 29 November 2015 - 5:00PM
Sydney Kick-Off Time: 5:00PM EDT
Competition: A-League Regular Season
Location: Gosford, New South Wales
Stadium: Central Coast Stadium
Click here to view the record
The FFA's massive breach of privacy in allowing their banned supporter list to be leaked to the media is a damning indictment on those who run the league.
Note: I preface this opinion post with a 'disclaimer' that it represents myself only, not the RBB, or Wanderers supporters as a whole, or the members of WSF.
Unless you were living under a rock, you would almost surely have heard this week that repeat drink driving offender and known anti-football troll Rebecca Wilson released a story revealing the names and in many cases, photographs, of various people that Football Federation Australia have given multi-year bans against. The fact that this draconian ban process is replete with cases of wrongful banning, that it includes minors, and that allegedly, that photographs don't always match the name did not matter to Wilson the bottom feeding guttersnipe. 2GB shock jock Alan Jones joined in to equate football supporters with terrorists in a radio interview with Wilson. Jones, a man charged in 2006 with 'outraging public decency' and 'committing an indecent act' in a London public toilet, along with his unethical "Cash for Comment" affair, and finally, a member of the SCG Trust.
The SCG Trust also contains John Hartigan. The partner of one Rebecca Wilson.
I will leave you to draw your own conclusions as to the source of the leak, although well placed sources in the media have stated that it was very unlikely to be either the Police or the FFA itself.
No-one would expect that the truth or natural justice would ever matter to Wilson, as her sole reason for writing about football is to denigrate it, to attack it, and to create click bait articles devoid of journalistic or even common personal integrity. I will not be linking these articles. Nor would it matter to Jones, considering the Cash for Comment affair, where paid advertising was presented by Jones in a manner that suggested editorial and personally supportive commentary, not to mention his hypocrisy when one considers his own personal behaviour (which would be his own business if not for how he goes about denigrating others when evidence is lacking).
The biggest problem is that the FFA does not care. The FFA doesn't care that their bans are often unsupported by evidence. They do not care when the Police admit evidence used to charge and subsequently ban (with information being passed onto the FFA by the Police) a supporter is overturned or shown to be incorrect in a court of law. The FFA do not overturn bans. There is no appeal process. You could have conclusive evidence to show that you were not in the stadium, the state or even the country at the time of the offence, and the FFA would not listen.
There is no appeal. The FFA is judge, jury and executioner, banning innocent people from football, for lengths up to an included several decades. We have gone over this before. Damien De Bohun has repeatedly stated that he 'will listen' to anyone who has a problem. I doubt he has ever made good on his word. The newest failure by the FFA is that they have allowed the banned list to be leaked to the media. They were allegedly aware a week in advance of the original story being written. If so, they did nothing.
The FFA have breached their own privacy guidelines, in allowing the list to be leaked, they have failed to keep control over these highly damaging lists. Which have seen innocent people slandered in the media, labelled regardless of evidence as criminals, and in the case of Jones, likened to terrorists.
The only statement from the FFA thus far is a short sentence which ignores the breach of privacy, fails to defend the supporters of football from these vicious attacks. It as usual, ignores the massive flaws in their banning process, and instead gladhands to the anti-football media and pats itself on the back for having a 'robust' ban process, despite the clear flaws and lack of natural justice inherent in this process.
To the Western Sydney Wanderers, I call on the club to revoke all media access for Daily Telegraph and related employees, and to remove all signage and sponsorship at Wanderers matches. All football supporters should boycott the Daily Telegraph until the day it dies a long overdue death. That trash tabloid needs to lose as much money as possible, and no respectable football supporter should give them a cent.
The FFA's lack of respect and of justice has gone on long enough. I fully expect multiple supporter groups to protest against the FFA. I believe the response to this incredible failure of the FFA to defend football could or should take several forms. I believe that only as a united group, of all supporters, coming together, can any real change be achieved.
The FFA should revoke media access for the Daily Telegraph until an apology is presented. It must defend football supporters from the baseless accusations and comparisons to terrorism by the anti-football media.
The FFA must apologise for allowing these details to be leaked, to investigate where the leak came from and if possible, prosecute the offender. The FFA needs to show all the members of the "football family" that their own personal details are safe against being leaked in a similar manner.
The FFA needs to introduce a neutral appeal process that allows those banned to overturn unjust bans.
Damien De Bohun must resign, it is a disgrace that he has allowed this sensationalist garbage to be spouted on his watch, using details he is meant to protect. If he refuses, I call on new FFA Chairman Steven Lowy to sack De Bohun with immediate effect.
If the FFA fail to take this matter seriously (and sadly, they will not take it seriously at all unless forced to), I have no doubt in my mind that the supporter groups that the FFA take for granted will join together and take action. This action could include but isn't limited to an ongoing boycott of any Australian national team match, a boycott of the FFA owned Newcastle Jets, refusal to participate in active support, a boycott of away matches, and should this go on long enough, a full boycott of all matches and club memberships while the FFA continue to ignore this dire situation.
If it does get that bad, I can only say that the FFA have brought this upon themselves.
A late Mark Bridge winner gave the Wanderers a deserved 2-1 win against Wellington tonight.
Western Sydney Wanderers continued their Spanish revolution with their fourth win on the trot, with marquee striker Federico Piovaccari scoring his second goal in as many games. 8 minutes in a Wanderers foul on the edge of the penalty area saw Michael McGlinchey take aim at Andrew Redmayne's goal. Stupidly for the Phoenix, with McGlinchey always going to shoot on goal, they sent forward both their central defenders, leaving them hopelessly outnumbered at the back.
When McGlinchey smashed his shot off the crossbar, it rebounded to the feet of Mitch Nichols, who aimed a ball forward for Dario Vidosic, the two covering Wellington defenders got involved in a horrible tangle and the ball rolled back to Nichols. The star attacking midfielder played a simple ball to Mark Bridge, with a two on the keeper situation Bridge held the ball long enough to draw the keeper, his lay off to Piovaccari gave him a tap-in to open the scoring.
15 minutes in and the Wanderers should have been two up. A corner for the Wanderers was played in towards the near post, Wellington cleared the ball into the path of Scott Jamieson, and the fullback fired a 25 yard rocket that whistled past Glen Moss, but referee Strebre Delovski inexplicably pulled the goal back for a Wellington foul, judging Piovaccari to have fouled the Wellington defence in the build up.
3 minutes later Wellington had their own illegitimate goal, only this time it was allowed by the referees. Maltese International Manny Muscat cut back onto his favoured right foot, fired across the keeper, through the legs of a team-mate and watched his shot fly past Redmayne. Replays showed McGlinchey was in an offside position and was positioned right in front of the goalkeeper, and should have seen the goal ruled out.
The second half built into the Wanderers favour as time ticked by, their momentum running towards a seemingly inevitable goal. It was Wanderers top goal scorer Mark Bridge who stepped up. A Wanderers corner flicked on at the near post, Bridge skipped past Roy Krishna, and with no Wellington player closing him down, took a touch to put the ball on his right foot to let him blast into the roof of the net from point blank range.
On another day the match would have ended 3-0, but in the end the Wanderers got the result they deserved, catapulting the Red & Black into 3rd position on the A-League Premiership ladder.