Sydney FC endorses Ryall sanction

Sydney FC responds to FFA sanctions against player, Sebastian Ryal

Sydney Football Club statement regarding FFA-s sanctioning of player Sebastian Ryall

The Sydney Football Club was made aware today that player Sebastian Ryall has been sanctioned by the FFA for bringing the game into disrepute.

The sanction arises from an incident which occurred in late January, 2008 whilst the player was contracted to the Melbourne Victory Football Club.

The Sydney Football Club had no knowledge of the incident when it signed the player on 20 November, 2008 and only became aware of the matter when recently informed by FFA.

Notwithstanding this fact, the Sydney Football Club fully endorses the sanction imposed by the FFA.

The Sydney Football Club, which has its own Code of Conduct, demands that only the very highest standard of behaviour is acceptable from all of its employees. This has been acknowledged by all of the Club-s players, coaches and staff.

Given that the incident has resulted in a criminal charge and is presently before the courts, the club, its players, coaches and staff will not discuss any matters relating to the incident.

Once the proceedings before the courts have been finally determined, the club will then make a formal statement.

Football Federation Australia Statement

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has imposed a sanction on player, Sebastian Ryall, for a breach of the FFA National Code of Conduct.

The sanction follows a finding that under clause 2.1 of the Code of Conduct the player has brought the game into disrepute through being charged with a criminal offence.

The player has been charged with engaging in a sexual act with a girl who was 13 years of age.

The sanction imposed is:

* Suspension from participation in football matches in Australia (including the A-League) until 3 September 2009, and

* Ineligibility to participate in national team duty until the criminal case has been determined or 3 September 2009 (whichever is the later).

The criminal charge arises out of an incident that took place in late January 2008. At the time the player was 18 years of age.

The matter came to the attention of FFA and his current club on 23 April 2009.

FFA initiated its Code of Conduct process which involved providing the player with the opportunity to make submissions to FFA on the alleged Code of Conduct breach. FFA considered those submissions in reaching its determination which was communicated to the player today. The player, through his legal representatives, has cooperated fully with the FFA process.

The sanction is not imposed on the basis that the player is guilty of the charge that he faces. FFA has not formed a view of the player-s guilt or innocence of the charge as this is a matter for the courts.

The sanction is imposed simply on the basis that the bringing of the criminal charge against him has brought the game of football into disrepute.

FFA notes that the player has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charge and his lawyer has indicated his client intends to strenuously defend his innocence.

As a result of the sanction, the player is not eligible to participate in national team duty and he will not be travelling with the Under 20 squad which is due to depart soon for an overseas tour.

The player has seven days in which to appeal FFA-s determination to the independent FFA Disciplinary Committee if he chooses to do so. A subsequent appeal may also be made to the independent FFA Appeals Committee.

As this matter is before the courts, FFA and his club will be making no further comment on this case at this point.