Sydney FC striker Joel Griffiths was handed a three-match ban for abusing a referee, and the A-League club is now seeking an explanation for the suspension and its timing
|By JOHN GRECO
Sydney FC will demand clarification from the FFA over the process of the match review panel but have decided against appealing striker Joel Griffiths' three-match ban.
Griffiths was suspended for verbally abusing a referee's assistant in the Sky Blues' 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory on January 26.
But the Sky Blues are incensed over the timing of the 33-year-old's ban, with the club only officially notified just 24 hours before their clash with Newcastle last Saturday.
Sydney officials are disappointed it took almost a week after the match for Griffiths' punishment to be handed down, especially after the incident was reported by any of the referees in control of the game.
The club believe the MRP process for Griffiths was inconsistent with other cases this season and will seek answers from the FFA immediately.
"The match officials, match commissioner and match review panel member tasked with watching the match all went through their due process without raising the issue involving Joel Griffiths," Sydney chief executive Tony Pignata said via club statement.
"We support the process as it is outlined to all clubs before the start of the season but it seems that process was not followed.
"The MRP is a panel that adjudicates on incidents independent of the FFA taking into consideration the reports of match officials and the match commissioner and has the ability to request match footage.
"Who else is involved in the process? Can the MRP now be asked to adjudicate on issues retrospective of the event that clouds its independence?
"There are a lot of questions that I think all clubs and players would like answered."
Sydney coach Frank Farina revealed his concerns over the situation on Sunday, believing the process has opened up a "massive can of worms" for anyone to dob in players to get them suspended.
Griffiths missed the Sky Blues' 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Saturday and will also be unavailable for the club's next two crucial matches, at home against Brisbane and Adelaide.
The Sky Blues are currently in eighth position, level on points with the sixth-placed Roar, who are their opponents on Sunday at Allianz Stadium.
While Griffiths' absence is a cruel blow at a pivotal point of the season, Farina is hopeful Socceroos midfielders Brett Emerton and Jason Culina will be fit to return.