Sydney FC coach Frank Farina says a simple apology would have made an FFA investigation into racial vilification of midfielder Ali Abbas unnecessary.
If Ali Abbas had received an apology there would be no need for the FFA’s investigation into alleged racial vilification, says Sydney FC coach Frank Farina.
Farina on Wednesday voiced his support for his Iraq-born midfielder who claimed he was the victim of slurs against his religion and culture during Saturday’s heated 3-1 derby win over Western Sydney Wanderers.
Sydney FC on Monday lodged an official complaint to Football Federation Australia (FFA), prompting what could be a drawn out dispute process.
Farina admitted he was disappointed the incident had overshadowed his side’s momentous victory but he also praised Abbas’ handling of the on-field post-match television interview when he made the claim as he explained his fiery behaviour.
“That situation could have been quashed straight away,” Farina said on Wednesday.
“Ali Abbas is a very honest, reliable, loyal person and for him to react that way, I have not seen him react that way since I’ve been at the club.
“So obviously the alleged incident, that something was said, I believe Ali unequivocally.
“But the whole situation could have been finished. Knowing Ali really well, if it had been said and if the person that said it had apologised it would be over.
“There would be no investigation, there’d be no further talks in the media about it. I know that from Ali that he would have certainly finished it right there.”
There is no clear time line for the dispute process, with FFA guidelines noting that it may include attempts at mediation or referral straight to a tribunal.
Farina praised the manner in which Abbas, who became an Australian citizen in 2012, handled himself when interviewed immediately after fulltime.
“He was very smart in the sense that he did not say after the game what was allegedly said, because I think if he wasn’t as smart and professional as he is this whole situation could have been very, very ugly,” Farina said.
The Sky Blues lifted themselves to fourth on the ladder with Saturday’s victory but face a tougher task when they host league leaders Brisbane on Friday.
Farina said the Abbas incident has not been a distraction for his side who are attempting to hang on to a top-six spot with only five games remaining before the finals.
He said Abbas harbours no anger over the matter and is solely focused on Friday’s match.
“He’s settled down, he’s a very calm person, so it must have been something pretty out of the ordinary or pretty bad for him to react in that way.
“But he’s certainly focused now on the game I only just had a talk with him this morning over a coffee and he’s ready to go.”