Following a thorough consultative process that has included all key stakeholders of the Club, South Melbourne FC confirms that it will continue to work with and support Senior player Nicholas Epifano.
Epifano breached the South Melbourne FC Player Code of Conduct following an inappropriate comment on social media and was then involved in an incident at the match at Green Gully last Saturday.
Following a review, the Club has chosen to continue to support Nicholas off the field but at the same time tighten up the Club’s Code of Conduct as a means to prevent similar incidents happening again in the future.
Over the past week since the Green Gully incident, Nicholas has shown extreme remorse at what happened. He is also seeking to repair the damaged relationships with those internally as well as elements of the South Melbourne supporter base. The Football Department, headed by Football Director Nicholas Maikousis and Head Coach Chris Taylor, will ensure that the right form of support is afforded to Nicholas as the Club tries to assist him through this period. Other key members of the SMFC staff will also be on hand to assist and mentor Nicholas along the way, most notably the SMFC Senior Leadership Group, headed by Captain Michael Eagar who is in full support of this decision. In the short term, Nicholas will be disciplined by the Club for his actions. He will not feature in the starting line-up for the match against the Melbourne Knights tomorrow and will also face further Club imposed sanctions.
Moving forward, South Melbourne FC has banned all Senior Squad players from commenting on official South Melbourne FC social media platforms as well as any other social media platforms concerning the Club, until such time as the Club’s Social Media policy is implemented. Speaking to smfc.com.au, Football Director Nicholas Maikousis was adamant that the Club as a whole needed to support Nicholas. “We have made it clear to the members at our AGM that we want a football club and playing group with a strong culture and with quality individuals. Our opinion on this has not changed and despite the outbursts over the past few weeks, we want to look after Nicholas & his welfare more than anything and guide him through this process rather than abandoning him.”
Head of Football & Senior Coach Chris Taylor added “Whilst not condoning the regrettable incidents that have taken place, we as a group (coaching staff & players) feel it is our duty of care to help and assist Nick by guiding and mentoring him through these issues. Nick is a very talented young footballer who will develop as a player & as a person. It is our responsibility as a club to support him through these issues, through good leadership, strong culture and management.”
South Melbourne FC thanks all stakeholders for their invaluable input over this past week and looks forward to seeing everyone at Lakeside Stadium for tomorrow’s big game against the Melbourne Knights