SYDNEY: Sydney FC said Sunday it had lodged an official complaint over claims from former Iraqi international Ali Abbas that he was racially, religiously and culturally abused during Saturday’s A-League Sydney derby.
The furious Iraqi-born player protested to the referee in the final minutes of the volatile match with Western Sydney Wanderers and later said his outburst was triggered by what he alleged to be racial slurs.
Sydney FC officials said Sunday that the club would lodge an official complaint with governing body Football Federation Australia.
“We will be undergoing due process with FFA,” Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata said in a statement.
“No further comment will be made while the complaint procedure takes it course.”
The FFA said it had “today received advice from Sydney FC that a formal complaint from Ali Abbas will be lodged” and once that occurred it would “instigate an investigation of the incident”.
The authority said the resolution process may include mediation or referral to a disciplinary tribunal.
Abbas made the explosive claims in a post-match interview.
“We are not here to attack religion or culture; we are here to play football,” Abbas told Fox Sports.
“I come from a different country, I respect everyone here. I should get it back. If I don’t get it back, I’m going to attack. That’s what happened.”
Abbas was on the end of a number of strong challenges during the incident-packed match, including an apparent blow to the head from Wanderers Italian midfielder Iacopo La Rocca.
The incensed Abbas had to be physically restrained by his teammates several times as he raged at Wanderers players during the match.
He had the last word by converting a stoppage-time penalty to seal a 3-1 win for Sydney FC before more than 40,000 fans at Allianz Stadium.
Abbas said his fury was solely prompted by words directed at him by opposing players.
“If people attack religion, if people attack culture — I’m against that. We need to stop that,” he said.
Abbas, 27, was a member of the victorious Iraqi national team that won the Asian Cup in 2007.
He fled war-torn Iraq after playing an under-23s international against Australia north of Sydney in 2007, and was later granted asylum to stay in the country.
Abbas became an Australian citizen in 2012.