Sport

Canberra NPL clubs face FFA Cup ban over Canberra United Academy boycott

Having been born in Baghdad, Cooma president Harry Hovasapian says it will take more than the threat of his club being banned from the FFA Cup to worry him.

Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid said A-League boss Damien de Bohun was "looking seriously" at excluding any Canberra National Premier League teams that continued their boycott against the Canberra United Academy.

While banning the Canberra clubs from the cup is an option available to the FFA, Fairfax Media believes no decision has been made as to what action, if any, it would take.

Seven of the eight Canberra clubs have banded together because they believed Capital Football chairman Mark O'Neill had reneged on promises made at a meeting late last year – that the NPL clubs would be made voting members of Capital Football and that the CUA would not be launched ahead of the upcoming season.

They sent a letter to the Capital Football board advising they wouldn't play any CUA teams as a result.

The Capital Football board released a statement in response during the week, which said the clubs would be punished if they boycotted home-and-away games.

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Belconnen United is the only club not part of the boycott, although the other seven clubs are meeting on Monday to discuss the matter.

Hovasapian will then meet with Reid when she returns from Europe and the pair were confident of resolving the issue.

He wasn't surprised by the board's response.

"As far as our club goes and speaking strictly for our club, [an FFA Cup ban] wouldn't worry me," Hovasapian said.

"If we as a group decide to continue the boycott and the threat comes back from the FFA that you can't play in the FFA Cup, well so be it. That wouldn't bother me.

"I was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and threats like that don't mean shit to me."

Reid has outlined to Hovasapian what would be required to change the Capital Football constitution to allow the NPL clubs to become voting members.

She said it would be difficult and she didn't think the FFA would allow it in any case, with a change to its bylaws to allow all the NPL clubs to be part of the Premier League's standing advisory committee, which gets one vote as a voting member, much easier.

Reid also said the CUA teams would be playing in the competition this season.

FFA technical director Eric Abrams met with the NPL presidents two weeks ago and took their concerns back to the governing body.

"Damien de Bohun from the FFA has said though that if clubs don't comply with their licence conditions then they will look very seriously at denying any clubs the opportunity to play in the FFA Cup," Reid said.

"That's a very big sign from the FFA that not only are they watching this closely, but they're also prepared to … impose sanctions if necessary."

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