Western Sydney striker Brendon Santalab is yet to find out if he will be banned for racial vilification, with the accusations still being considered.
Both Santalab and Sydney FC’s Ali Abbas, who claimed he was the victim of slurs against his culture and religion, fronted a disciplinary hearing at Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) Sydney offices on Monday to present their sides of the story.
The hearing which began at 5:30pm (AEDT) was adjourned late on Monday night until a date yet to be determined.
It was the first time the two have come face to face since Abbas alleged he was abused at the heated Sydney derby at Allianz Stadium on March 8.
Santalab has denied the allegations.
If found guilty, Santalab faces a minimum ban of five matches for a racially aggravated offence, which will be the first time in the A-League a player has been punished for racial vilification.
Joel Griffiths received a three-match ban while playing for Sydney FC in February last year for a racial term shouted at a linesman, but was only convicted of abusing him but not of racial vilification as the official didn’t hear the term used.
Santalab was on Monday accompanied by the club’s general manager John Tsatsimas and executive chairman Lyall Gorman along with his legal representatives.
Abbas meanwhile, was joined by Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata at the hearing which is being held behind closed doors.
Various Sydney FC players submitted statements to be considered by the disciplinary committee, which was chaired by John Marshall SC.
It is not known if any Wanderers players have done the same.
Santalab was last week ordered to front the disciplinary committee as part of the FFA investigation into Abbas’ claims.
Abbas, who was born in Iraq and became an Australian citizen in 2012, was visibly furious after the final whistle of his side’s 3-1 win over the Wanderers over a fortnight ago.
He engaged in a heated exchange with Santalab, with several players stepping in to separate them.
When was asked about his outburst just minutes later in a post-match interview he said it was due to comments that were made about his ethnic background and his religion.
“We are not here to attack religion or culture, we are here to play football,” he told Fox Sports.
“I come from a different country, I respect everyone here. I should get it back. If I don’t get it back, I’m going to attack.
“That’s what happened.
“If people attack religion, if people attack culture – I’m against that.
“We need to stop that.”