Hyundai A-League Round 5; Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers, played at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle. Wanderers fans chanting.
Hyundai A-League Round 5; Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers, played at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle. Wanderers fans chanting.

Wanderers’ ‘heterosexuals only’ message an own-goal

The Wanderers have promised to look at holding same-sex dating nights, after a backlash over their plans for a "heterosexual-only" singles night during the game against Perth next month.

The club quickly changed the wording on a social-media post advertising the "Single's night at Wanderland" on April 4, which originally noted that "everyone is welcome, however please note this is a heterosexual event".

The wording appears to fall foul of NSW anti-discrimination law, and the club apologised for it - coming less than a fortnight after its own active fans group was condemned for a homophobic reference to Sydney FC fans ahead of the derby.

The club said it had been seeking to "offer clarity" to fans tempted to join the night, which is the first event Western Sydney have attempted to stage.

"We apologise for the wording and it has been removed from the event details," said a Wanderers spokesperson.

 

Wanderers promo for its singles night.
Wanderers promo for its singles night.

 

The words that were subsequently removed.
The words that were subsequently removed.

 

"From our research, a Singles Night is often sexual-orientation based - which is a consistent theme across these type of events, and we were attempting to give our audience clarity.

"No one is excluded. This is our first attempt to run an event like this at match and, if successful, we could host others in the future including for our LGBT+ family."

The advert promised "a range of activities to help you find the one including a speed dating round and all the action of our Round 26 clash against Perth Glory … you could walk away from the match with your dream date on your arm."

 

The picture from the RBB's Facebook post.
The picture from the RBB's Facebook post.

 

Before the derby, the Red and Black Bloc's Facebook page made a disparaging reference to "what would be a busy week for most [Sydney FC] supporters with Mardi Gras to attend", prompting an angry denunciation from the Wanderers.

To compound the club's embarrassment over its Single Night post, the RBB responded by issuing its own "statement" - parodying the words Western Sydney used in condemning its Mardi Gras reference.

SOLID CASE FOR A NEW TRIBUNAL

NPL players in dispute with their clubs would have access to the same official tribunals as A-League players under a plan suggested by new FFA CEO James Johnson.

In a move to end headlines of players claiming they are owed money by clubs, Johnson said FFA and the state federations should "have a discussion" about creating a national ­dispute system for all players on professional contracts to access.

It comes after The Daily Telegraph revealed that several former players are claiming almost $12,000 in allegedly withheld wages from former NSL giants South Melbourne. The club has denied the allegations and the players have no way of trying to enforce their claims beyond expensive legal action.

 

FFA CEO James Johnson wants to create a national dispute system for all players on professional contracts. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
FFA CEO James Johnson wants to create a national dispute system for all players on professional contracts. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

 

The players' association (PFA) has demanded that Football Victoria hear the cases, but Johnson said the complexities of setting up separate grievance systems in each state pointed to the need for a national model.

A-League players can apply to a tribunal to hear grievances with their club over pay, conditions or their contract, but its rules say that each state should deal with claims between players and clubs at NPL level or below.

Johnson was heavily involved in FIFA's disputes system as its head of professional football and argued that duplicating a tribunal system in each state would be a waste of resources.

"FFA has this in place for the A-League, and in some states they have some kind of forum," Johnson said.

"But it's really complex to establish them, so I don't see why we can't work with federations where there are professional players employed with clubs and have one system that all players can access.

"To do it separately (state by state), they are not easy to set up - do we need to have three or more functioning, or one system for everyone?

"It would be more efficient. Of course it would have to be agreed between the federations and FFA but it's a discussion I think we should have."

A number of the larger NPL clubs have ambitions to join the proposed national second division and there have been calls to increase their levels of professionalism - as well as protect clubs from player demands and uncertainty over contract status.

PFA CEO John Didulica said he had already argued that FFA and the states together had an obligation to create a system for all its members to access, not just the full-time professionals in the A-League.

"We have a system created under the collective bargaining agreement for A-League players and there's no reason why that can't be extended," Didulica said.

"We have written to the ­FFA saying that we believe they have the obligation to create capacity for something like this under the constitution.


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