FFA to review "discriminatory" policy

FFA boss David Gallop says the organisation will review a ban on clubs displaying ethnic insignia.
FFA boss David Gallop says the organisation will review a ban on clubs displaying ethnic insignia.

Football Federation Australia has succumbed to public pressure and will review a policy that bans clubs from paying tribute to their ethnic heritage through their name, logo or jersey.

The National Club Identity Policy (NCIP) was introduced just before the inaugural FFA Cup competition in 2014, prohibiting clubs from displaying any "ethnic, national, political, racial or religious" identifiers.

It was met with immediate resistance from clubs and supporters who felt the policy was an attempt to whitewash the rich multicultural history of Australian football, while there has been regular criticism over the inconsistency of its application.

This year, the opposition to the NCIP gathered further momentum.

Football Federation Victoria CEO Peter Filopoulos called it a "ridiculous" rule that had no place in the game after Avondale FC were forced to cover up a small Italian flag on the back of their jerseys at the behest of FFA in July.

Meanwhile, Newcastle club Charlestown City Blues is reportedly taking FFA to the Supreme Court in an attempt to have the "discriminatory" policy dissolved.

While FFA said in a statement on Wednesday that it believed such a legal challenge would be unlikely to succeed, chief executive David Gallop said the governing body would complete a review into the NCIP by early next year.

"FFA management has at various stages in recent times debated the effectiveness of the NCIP," Gallop said.

"This has been prompted by community sentiment along with experience arising from its application at competition level.

"At the time of its introduction FFA felt it necessary to introduce this policy to ensure the game remained inclusive and accessible to all Australians, and we believe the NCIP has been successful in achieving this objective."

Australian Associated Press