W-League | No appeals due to lack of match footage

The W-League’s lack of quality match recording footage has been blamed by Football Federation Australia (FFA) as the reason the league does not have a Match Review Panel (MRP) for red card appeals.

The Westfield W-League, unlike the A-League, does not have a formal process in place for players who receive a red card to submit their appeal applications for review.

In Round 12, Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was handed a direct red card during her match against Newcastle Jets. The Matildas’ goalkeeper was unable to appeal or submit an application for consideration of an ‘obvious error’ by the referee, as the league has no MRP.

Instead Arnold was handed her suspension with no opportunity to appeal and missed her team’s final game of the season against Melbourne City. She said in a post made to social media that the card would stand and she was disappointed with the decision that she could be out on the pitch with her teammates.

Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha was also issued a direct red card that weekend, however, he was able to submit an application to the MRP. In review the panel found the red card as an ‘obvious error’ and the card was expunged from Berisha’s record, allowing him to play in his side’s next match.

FFA insists it is not a gender gap issue in the sport, rather the issue of minimal quality footage able to be reviewed in the W-League. As only one match per week broadcast by ABC, in comparison to every A-League match being broadcast by FOX Sports.

“Consistency across all matches, teams and players are essential for the Disciplinary Regulations within our specific competitions to maintain fairness and competitive balance,” said an FFA spokesperson.

“As all matches in the Westfield W-League and Foxtel National Youth League are not broadcast, we only allow obvious error submissions in the case of mistaken identity to ensure all players in each specific competition have the same rights under the disciplinary regulations.”

FFA’s claims could be disputed by the strong standard of footage recorded each W-League game by SRS – see below.

However, officials inside W-League clubs, while not offering any public comment, are said to be privately bemused, upset and annoyed at FFA’s lack of viable excuse.

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A player turned Journalist that's still holding onto the dream by writing about the Newcastle Jets this season!