The FFV board is coming under increasing pressure to explain a controversial decision to agree to what it calls “a legal settlement” with former board member Aldrin De Zilva. The latter threatened legal action against it after the FFV Tribunal had banned him for two years over charges of misconduct related to abuse of a female referee at a junior match in 2014.
The board’s decision in October last year, to reach a settlement and apologise to De Zilva, was soon followed by the resignation of three female board members and the then acting FFV CEO Cathy Acocks.
It’s also been reported recently in the Weekend Australian that several sports lawyers have since boycotted the FFV Disciplinary and Appeals tribunal, by withdrawing their voluntary services on the board, taking a stand against what some consider interference in the Tribunal’s independence.
Two of the female board members who resigned last year, confirmed in a joint statement to the Weekend Australian that they resigned over FFV board’s interference in the De Zilva case, whilst acting CEO at the time, Acocks, also said her resignation was due to the board’s decision on a tribunal matter.
According to the recent Weekend Australian report, FFV president Kimon Taliadoros denied the tribunal decision was overturned saying that the board instead reached a settlement with De Zilva after he threatened legal action.
The FFV has released a statement relating to the matter which says: “This legal settlement fell within the ambit of the powers of the FFV board and was made with the best interest of the game.”
The FFV has also published a copy of the letter sent from Taliodoros to De Zilva apologising to him on behalf of the FFV and notifying him of the board’s decision to render the original tribunal finding against De Zilva null and void, on the grounds of a lack of procedural fairness. However, the FFV board may need to explain its actions in greater detail particularly if the FFA decides to investigate the matter.