Northern New South Wales Football (NNSWF) have named Hamilton Azzurri FC as breaching the National Club Identity Policy (NCIP) in a written statement, despite Football Federation Australia confirming the unpopular policy will be axed.
Hamilton Azzurri are a State League 4 club from the Newcastle suburbs, and bear a small Italian flag on the collar of their home jerseys.
Passionate Azzurri supporter and volunteer Jim Sneesby told Evenings on FNR that the away kit also features a Ukrainian crescent which commemorates Sneesby’s grandfather, a Ukrainian man who helped found the club.
The NCIP was introduced in 2014 and banned clubs from displaying any symbols suggestive of ethnicity, politics, race or religion in their kit or team name. FFA announced on March 1st that the controversial policy would be axed, but NNSWF say the policy is technically still in place until the new Diversity and Inclusiveness Policy is passed – citing FFA Director Joseph Carrozzi as their source.
The NCIP has been scrapped. Was decided at a board meeting. In its place is a ‘principles based’ approach which promotes inclusive and non discriminatory clubs. We are developing the principles now. But NCIP is no more.
— Joseph Carrozzi (@JosephCarrozzi) April 24, 2019
Important to note that the @FFA board decision to repeal NCIP now has to be implemented. We are not there yet so @NNSWF & any Association must observe the current rules until we issue new ones. The delay is regrettable but we have made a key commitment.
— Joseph Carrozzi (@JosephCarrozzi) April 25, 2019
“NNSWF does not have the autonomy to pick and choose when National policies are upheld,” reads the statement from the federation.
“All affiliated clubs, including Hamilton Azzurri, are obligated in accordance with the National Registration Regulations to abide by National Policy, which underpins the governance of the game.
“NNSWF will continue to uphold national policy without fear or favour.”
— NNSWF (@NNSWF) April 26, 2019
The club have worn the kits for no less than two years now, but NNSWF’s statement this morning has left the club in the dark.
“We’re not actually sure what the consequences might be,” Sneesby said.
After playing in these kits for some time, Sneesby said the club were simply told to “immediately” find a new strip to wear for the remainder of the season.
“We were essentially given today to find 42 new kits,” he said.
Sneesby admitted that club “don’t have those funds” to secure new playing strips in time to appease NNSWF, and get back to playing football distraction-free.
“We just want to play football, that’s all we want to do,” Sneesby said.