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Angus Chance one-punch assault case, Craig Foster letter to Football Australia, FIFA

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A talented young footballer who was bashed by a teammate after calling him out over racial abuse has been delivered a strong show of support by former Socceroo Craig Foster.

Angus Chance, now 23, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on medical bills following the one-punch assault in May 2018, but claims he received no support from Football New South Wales over the incident.

In fact, Chance remains locked in a legal stoush with Football NSW which has cost both parties hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now noted human rights advocate Craig Foster has spoken out in Chance’s defence, and has signalled his intention to take the matter to football’s global authority FIFA.

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Chance, 20-years-old at the time, was playing for Dulwich Hill FC when teammate Nathan Bowden-Haase said: “f***ing Japanese c***s” about three Japanese trialists.

Chance told his 34-year-old teammate to “grow up and stop being racist” before Bowden-Haase punched him.

Chance suffered severe facial injuries including a broken jaw and dislodged teeth. He spent weeks in hospital after facial reconstruction, and this month told ABC he is still recovering from his injuries including a loss of sensation.

He also suffered significant psychological impacts from the incident, and stated his medical costs have now reached almost $90,000.

Bowden-Haase was charged with grievous bodily harm and assault, and sentenced to 20 months’ home detention.

Mr Chance required facial reconstruction surgery on his injuries.Source: Supplied

But Football NSW did not cover Chance’s medical costs, allegedly informing his father the organisation’s insurance policies would not cover incidents where criminal acts had occurred.

Furthermore, Chance alleged that Football NSW lawyers instructed the club and its players not to contact Mr Chance after the incident, a so-called ‘speaking ban’ which lasted four weeks and kept teammates from visiting him during his weeks in hospital.

Chance, who was Football NSW’s 2017 NPL3 under-20s player of the year, has now spent years locked in a legal battle with Football NSW.

Now Foster, a noted human rights defender, has written to Football Australia about his concerns over the sport’s treatment of Chance, who he calls “an incredibly brave young man.”

In the letter, seen by Fox Sports, Foster labelled it an ‘extremely disturbing case’.

“Despite the fact that Angus is an incredibly brave young man who should be rewarded for

protecting the inclusive values of the game, he has been ostracised, his teammates distanced

from him and his family bled of hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs … the disgraceful treatment by the game itself has led to lasting psychological and financial

harm to Angus and his family.”

Angus Chance in hospital after a brutal one-punch assault.Source: Supplied

FIFA – football’s global organising body – requires affiliated bodies (such as Football Australia and its member federation Football NSW) to adhere to a Human Rights Policy.

Under that policy, ‘human rights defenders’, a category which Foster says includes Chance, are owed protection.

Foster, in his letter to Football Australia’s chairman this month, says he ‘anticipates’ writing to FIFA’s Human Rights Advisory Board to seek justice for Chance.

Foster asked Football Australia to detail what it has done – or will do – “to ensure that Angus is congratulated and supported rather than externalised, brutalised and his physical pain compounded by mistreatment from the game that he loves.”

Football NSW today stated:

“Football NSW wishes to make the following statement.

“First, Football NSW and the NSW football community deplore any form of discrimination,

racism, or violence against any individual or group.

“Football has, for generations, helped assimilate new Australians into our country. This is a

responsibility that football and all our stakeholders are proud of, and equally proud to

continue leading.

“We do not tolerate any act of racism within our community.

“Further, Football NSW has over many years actively delivered numerous programmes that

intend to welcome new Australians, celebrate multiculturalism, and encourage belonging in

football for all.

“Given the matter involving Angus Chance is currently before the courts, Football NSW is not

able to provide any more information than that contained in its statement of 28 September

2020.

“However, Football NSW can confirm that it continues to meet with the Chance family and

their representative with the sole intention of supporting the well-being of Angus and his

family.”

Football Australia said it was “aware of the legal proceedings” brought by Chance against Football NSW .

“Football Australia does not condone, in any way, violence, racism or discrimination of any kind in our sport. Football is the number one team participation sport in Australia and the most diverse, inclusive and multicultural sport in Australia, with over 180 nationalities participating every week,” the Football Australia statement read.

“Football Australia’s Member Protection Framework, which includes an Anti-Discrimination Policy as well as a mechanism to report incidents of discrimination, and Code of Conduct are an essential part of our organisation’s proactive and preventative approach to tackling inappropriate behaviour.

“Although not a party to the proceedings, Football Australia have been and will continue to have dialogue with Angus and his family, as well as Football NSW.

“Football Australia is deeply concerned about the impact of this matter on Angus and his family and has encouraged all parties to continue the constructive and supportive dialogue.”

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