Contestations and subsequent repeals
Several decisions by the ASA’s Disciplinary Commissioners result in fines for offences listed under different articles of the disciplinary code. The point of reference is generally the referees’ report.
As long as fines are imposed players and clubs seem to be unperturbed, even if such measures now mean much heftier sums of money being forked out by the offenders.
A glance at the ASA’s circulars show that several reports are uncontested. Very often this is not the case when the clubs anticipate a suspension.
Clubs contest the report and submit their case.
Appeals are lodged mostly when players, coaches or officials are suspended from all ASA activities either for a number of matches or for a period of time.
Quite often there are contestations and subsequent appeals which are becoming the norm rather than the exception.
So far, we have had instances where decisions by the ASA Disciplinary Commissioner have been repealed by the Appeals Board.
The fact that out of four contestations this year the Appeals Board overturned partially or totally the original decision may raise some eyebrows.
Questions as to whether there are any flaws anywhere are of natural consequence.
Furthermore, suspicions may be raised over the correctness of certain statements in the referees’ or any report by the association’s officials.
If this is so, the referees’ reports, erstwhile considered to be unchallenged by the alleged offenders, will no longer be the main reference point on which decisions are taken.
Unlike in legal procedures, sports discipline pre-supposes the principle that the referees’ report is final and binding whatever the alleged offenders’ version may be, even if the possibility of the two referees being called to clarify or confirm the contents in their re-port is not completely ruled out.
If this were not so there could be long hearings which may disrupt the smooth and timely progress of competition.
Moreover, unless stated unequivocally in the referees’ or any other valid report, decisions taken by the Commissioner should not be based on some alleged episodes of misbehaviour.
In the ASA circulars issued this year, reasons for decisions taken by the Commissioner as well as those by the Appeals Board were normally spelt out in clear terms, with the relevant article in the disciplinary code being cited.
And rightly so since this makes for transparency.
However, in two instances a 15-day suspension and a fine imposed on a player and another involving a one-match ban were completely annulled by the Appeals Board without any indication whatsoever being given as to why and how the decision was arrived at.
The ASA’s disciplinary mechanism should never be called into question in this respect so that justice is not only done but seen to be done.
Otherwise the domino effect will not be curbed and those acting as Sole Commissioners or members of the Appeals Boards will be in for a hectic time.
Today: Premier KO semi-final (1st leg) 7.15 p.m. Sirens vs Sliema.
Tomorrow: Division One KO semi-final (2nd leg) 6 p.m. Otters vs Ta’ Xbiex (1st leg: 18-15); Premier KO semi-final (2nd leg) 7.15 p.m. San Ġiljan vs Neptunes (1st leg: 7-14).
Thursday: Division One KO semi-final (2nd leg) 6 p.m. Valletta vs Marsascala (first leg: 11-13); Premier KO semi-final (2nd leg) 7.15 p.m. Sliema vs Sirens.