Aussies crackdown on hard partying U-23 bad boys with Olympic bans

November 19 – Four Australian under-23 players have been banned for “unprofessional conduct” during a night out at the end of the Asian Football Confederation U-23 championship qualifying tournament in Cambodia last March.

Nathaniel Atkinson, Lachlan Wales and Brandon Wilson were banned until 10 August 2020, meaning they will miss the Tokyo Olympics while captain Riley McGree was banned until April 1 next year.

All four will be asked to participate in “education courses and counselling” as directed by the governing body,  Football Federation Australia said. The four were found to have breached the FFA’s code of conduct.

“Specifically, the FFA Board found that the players engaged in unprofessional conduct,” an  FFA statement said. “The matter came to the attention of FFA in April, 2019 following a complaint by a woman.”

It was unclear what the nature of the complaint was. The FFA said it had launched an investigation shortly after receiving it but that it had taken months to complete due to its “complexity”.

The players were due to travel to China on November 9 to prepare for the AFC U-23 championship in January but were held back pending the sanction. They have recourse to appeal the decision to an independent committee.

“These sanctions are commensurate to the nature of the breaches,” FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said.  “Upholding our commitment to respect and responsibility cannot be compromised.

“The players have understood the gravity of their actions and have positively commenced respectful relationship programmes that will ensure they appreciate these values in the future.”

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