Melbourne Knights FC can confirm the following events in order to explain the absence of a confirmed major sponsor and their appearance on the front of the Westfield FFA Cup shirt as announced here.
After submitting the kits to FFA more than two weeks before the club’s FFA Cup match against Olympic FC, the governing body questioned three of our four kit sponsors on the basis of the National Club Identity Policy, namely Melbourne Croatia Soccer Club Inc., Australian Croatian Association Melbourne and Australian Croatian Association Geelong.
After communication between the Club and the FFA, the club demonstrated that FFA Cup major sponsor Melbourne Croatia Soccer Club Inc. is acceptable under The National Club Identity Policy (NCIP). The federation then released a memo on Thursday 24th July (five days before the match) stating that they would “only approve a Club’s Playing Strip as it appeared in their Member Federation 2014 league or cup competition, at the time of qualification to the Westfield FFA Cup 2014.”
The memo, which was sent to CEOs of the respective state governing bodies by head of the Hyundai A-League Damien de Bohun, said the late rule change was due to “the context of this approval process, consideration has been given to the cost and timing issues involved in producing replacement or alternate Playing Strips for the Westfield FFA Cup 2014.”
Melbourne Knights FC Club Secretary Melinda Cimera wrote to FFA when submitting the ‘league kits’, which the Club was coerced and pressured into; “The National Club Identity Policy and your enforcement of it to deny a Club valuable financial support clearly demonstrates the failure of your vision of an assimilated football community, which fundamentally denies the reality of the game in this country,” Ms Cimera said.
Following the match, Melbourne Knights FC Vice President Pave Jusup lodged an official complaint to the Human Rights Commission under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 regarding the National Club Identity Policy which was accepted by the Commission and has been referred to the FFA for justification to the Commission.
Melbourne Croatia Soccer Club Inc. President Ange Cimera also lodged an official complaint to the Human Rights Commission under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 regarding the attempted application of the National Club Identity Policy against Melbourne Croatia Soccer Club and the maneuvering by FFA to prevent the club from supporting the Melbourne Knights Football Club by way of sponsorship branding. The Commission accepted the complaint and referred the complaint to the FFA.
Both complaints have been referred to the FFA who were given 21 days in which to respond as of a few days ago.
Melbourne Knights FC intends to see out the process handled by the Human Rights Commission in the hope of a resolution.
Failing that, the Club has already retained legal representation and is ready to challenge the FFA’s National Club Identity Policy in the Federal Circuit Court.
Should that situation eventuate, Melbourne Knights Football Club will call an Extraordinary General Meeting of all members to give more detailed information about the situation.
In the meantime, the Club’s FFA Cup specific web store, run by our Apparel Partner Macron, is now online and is ready to take orders from tomorrow onwards. The FFA Cup kits are able to be branded to have your preferred number and surname printed on the back of the shirt as part of the price which will be activated tomorrow afternoon.