Soccer kids booted

Zac and Cody, both 11, stand outside their old club

By Ewen McRae

Five Brimbank children have been de-registered from Green Gully Soccer Club after a dispute between parents and the club’s board.

The parents of the children received de-registration letters following last year’s club annual general meeting, during which a vote of no confidence in the club’s board was passed by a 44-22 majority.

The parents claim that the board did not stand down following the vote. In the following days, the parents tried to gather a petition with enough support to force another general meeting to push through changes to the board.

The parents say their children were de-registered as a way of removing the parents’ voting rights and squashing the petition.

One parent, David Catania, said the de-registrations were contrary to the aims of Football Federation Victoria (FFV).

“The way it is set up within the FFV, is they want every parent to have a vote in the direction that their club takes,” Mr Catania said.

“To stand up and vote at an AGM … to then be kicked out, or de-registered or discriminated against because you voted in a way that they didn’t want, is pretty appalling.

“The kids were devastated. They’ve been with their mates for six or seven years now … to be told that they’ve been de-registered and they can’t continue with their team and they
have to go to another club is pretty heartbreaking.”

Another parent, who did not wish to be named, said the de-registrations were done to silence their voices.

“It’s a scare campaign, and people have now asked to remove their names off the general meeting notice (the petition),” they said.

“They’ve de-registered five children in total, who had already made it for next season … we’d paid our deposits.

“We got a letter from them saying that due to our conduct, and causing rifts within the club, that they’ve decided to de-register our children.”

The club declined to comment.

But a copy of the de-registration letter obtained by Star Weekly outlines some of its reasons for the de-registrations of the young players.

“The board formed the view that your recent conduct serves to undermine the club,” it states.

“Your behaviour is self-interested, disruptive towards the orderly management of the club and has the potential to create rifts between people. It does not serve to benefit the interests of the club as a whole.

“While your interests as a parent are important, they do not take precedence over all the other interests associated with the club.”

The parents have taken their claims to FFV, which found no wrongdoing on the part of the club.

“We do not consider the actions amount to discrimination or harassment,” an FFV findings report states.

“It is an unfortunate consequence of the contractual capacity of junior ‘members’ that they may be punished due to the breakdown of the relationship between their legal guardians and the club.

“Football Victoria is not obliged to intervene in this matter.”

The parents say they will continue their battle.