Thursday, January 31, 2013
Joel Griffiths handed three-match ban
By James MacSmith
An already-depleted Sydney FC have been hit with a fresh blow ahead of Saturday's crucial A-League match against Newcastle with striker Joel Griffiths suspended for abusing a linesman.Griffiths was suspended on Friday evening after a review of an incident in the Sky Blues' loss to Melbourne Victory last weekend by a reconvened A-League match review panel.The incident happened in the 89th minute of the round-18 fixture and Griffiths was charged with "use of offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures against a match official".The 33-year-old faces a three-match suspension. He will serve a mandatory match suspension against the Jets and can appeal the additional two-game suspension.Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata condemned Griffiths' behaviour."Sydney FC is disappointed with what happened late in the game last weekend against Melbourne Victory that has led to Joel Griffiths receiving a three-match suspension," Pignata said in a statement."Sydney FC prides itself on setting standards in community behaviour and we expect our players to uphold those standards and set a good example."Joel has shown remorse for what happened and Sydney FC will consider its options in relation to appealing the severity of the suspension."The A-League's match review panel usually convenes earlier in the week but it's understood they did not receive information on Griffiths' outburst until midweek.It's not the first time Griffiths has been involved in a controversy involving match officials. He appeared to punch a linesman in the groin when playing for Newcastle in 2007, but escaped further sanction on a technicality because he received a yellow card at the time.The suspension denies Griffiths the opportunity to play alongside brother Adam and against his other brother Ryan, in what would have been the first time three brothers had played together in an A-League fixture.Griffiths is the fifth change forced on Sydney coach Frank Farina for the match against the fifth-placed Jets who sit two points above the Sky Blues on the A-League ladder.Socceroo Brett Emerton (back) has been ruled out of the match with the Jets, against whom Sydney have lost twice already this season. The Sky Blues also are without Yairo Yau to international duty with Panama while defenders Fabio and Tiago Calvano are serving one-match suspensions.Goalkeeper Ivan Necevski returns from an ankle injury to take Matthew Nash's place on the bench while Terry Antonis, Peter Triantis, Nathan Sherlock, Paul Reid and Aaron Calver have been recalled to Farina's extended 18-man squad.Farina bemoaned his continued bad luck at training on Friday before the news of Griffiths suspension."It's certainly had its moments (this season). We are probably five or six down from last week but that is the reality of it - we have to live with it and just get on with it. Every day in football is a challenge," Farina said."When you are on a bit of a rollercoaster ride like we have been, it tends to stay that way. We have to continue to keep working hard, take what we have got and keep battling away."