Apology and retraction to Mr Robert Cavallucci and Mr Ben Richardson
On 24 January 2020, I published an article entitled “Costs of playing increases in Queensland” (“Article”).
It has been brought to my attention that some people may have interpreted the Article to mean that Mr Robert Cavallucci and Mr Ben Richardson were corrupt, dishonest, acted disreputably and were in dereliction of their duties owed to Football Queensland in their respective positions as chairman and director. Separately, as against Mr Richardson, the Article may have been interpreted to mean that he favoured his personal interests by securing an appointment as a consultant to search for a replacement chief executive officer and was dishonest in rendering an invoice to Football Queensland for consulting work he did not undertake.
I did not intend any such suggestions to arise. Those suggestions would be untrue and unfounded. I wish to apologise to Mr Cavallucci and Mr Richardson for any hurt, distress and embarrassment the Article and subsequent publications may have caused to them and their families.
I also wish to apologise that public assertions of truth of the above suggestions were made in court proceedings, which were subsequently broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘7:30’ program on 25 November 2020.
The position is:
- Mr Cavallucci was appointed to the role of CEO of Football Queensland after an extensive recruitment process that ultimately led to his appointment to the role; and
- The fee increase to player registration fees was approved by the Board before Mr Cavallucci was offered the role of CEO of Football Queensland; and
- Following the resignation of the former CEO of Football Queensland, Mr Richardson provided executive services to the organisation, which was without a chief executive officer whilst also undertaking the recruitment process over a two-month period, which process resulted in Mr Cavallucci being unanimously appointed by the board of Football Queensland.
Dated: 22 February 2021
Bonita Mersiades on her own behalf and as director of Fair Play Publishing Pty Ltd
RETRACTION AND APOLOGY ISSUED TO FQ CEO ROBERT CAVALLUCCI AND PRESIDENT BEN RICHARDSON BY BONITA MERSIADES IN SETTLEMENT OF THEIR DEFAMATION ACTION
On Monday, 22 February 2021 the defamation action before the courts initiated by Football Queensland Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robert Cavallucci and President Ben Richardson was settled with the defendant Bonita Mersiades and Fair Play Publishing, issuing a retraction and apology (above).
Forming part of the settlement, an undisclosed sum was paid to the plaintiffs Cavallucci and Richardson by Bonita Mersiades, which will be donated in its entirety to football related charities.
Cavallucci and Richardson commenced defamation action against Mersiades following the release of an article on FootballToday.news in January 2020, which led to several follow-up stories including a program that was amplified across mainstream media via ABC’s 7:30 Report.
Despite this, FQ remained loyal to its vision and refused to be distracted as we embarked on the extensive reform journey to shape a brighter future for football in our state.
Football Queensland welcomes the settlement of this matter and looks forward to continuing its focus as the governing body of the sport in Queensland, on growing the game and supporting the members and participants of our football community across the state.
Source: Football Queensland