Exposed Wanderers fan speaks out after FFA ban costs him his job

EXCLUSIVE: Julian Cumbo was fired by his employer a day after he featured in a leaked list of 198 football supporters banned from attending games in Australia and New Zealand by Football Federation Australia, in Sunday's press.


Julian Cumbo maintains that he has been given no right of appeal to his ban by FFA Source: SBS

Cumbo was just 16 years-old when he received a five-year stadium ban after being identified by CCTV footage during an altercation between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory supporters on the 28 December, 2013.

However, the 18 year-old insisted he was never charged by police after the incident in Melbourne.

"My employer said to me, 'We can’t have someone representing our company, dealing with customers on a regular basis who is portrayed in the media as a hooligan'," Cumbo said.

"Your personal life after work hours, within the law is your business. Who is my employer to say what I can and can’t do at a football game?"

"Being publicised on this level was too far, way too far."
The FFA insist they are open to appeals from fans who have received a ban, so long as they have sufficient evidence to back up their case.

"Since the inception of the Banning Process, it has always been the case that if a banned person can prove that they did not engage in the relevant behaviour the ban will not apply. If a banned person can bring the evidence that proves this to FFA through their club, the ban will be lifted," an FFA statement read.

However, Cumbo denies the FFA’s claims and believes fans who have been banned don’t have a fair opportunity to appeal.

"It’s absolute rubbish, there is no appeal system. I have called and emailed multiple times and I was told to stop calling," Cumbo said,

In fact, Cumbo received correspondence from FFA last year in which the governing body declared it would "not consider any appeal" and that because it is not a government agency “the obligation to adhere to the rules of procedural fairness and natural justice does not apply to our organisation."

The issue has been in the spotlight since a News Corp Australia report last Sunday, in which Cumbo's name and photo were in the initial online version before they were removed.

Active fan groups from the Western Sydney Wanderers - the Red and Black Bloc - and Melbourne Victory - the North Terrace - have pledged to walk out from their matches this weekend to protest what they believe is a breach of privacy and an unfair policy - with WSW management urging any of their fans who have evidence they have been unfairly banned to 'bring this evidence forward and we will advocate on your behalf to the FFA'.

"Some things are bigger than one match of football. We cannot continue to ignore the situation where our basic rights are trodden on and our banned supporters are left in the dark," a statment from the North Terrace read.

Cumbo has been overwhelmed by the support extended to him by the broader football community and Wanderers staff.

"Wanderers staff have called me off their personal phones saying ‘if you need someone to talk to we’re here to support you because this [the leak] is a disgusting thing to happen to our members and fans alike’,” Cumbo said.

A football supporters group offered their help to Cumbo by posting on their Facebook page on his behalf.

"There has been an influx of people in hospitality industry offering me work since the post," Cumbo said.

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3 min read
Published 27 November 2015 at 12:20pm
By Basil Saab
Source: SBS