An up-and-coming soccer player who was the victim of a one-punch attack after sticking up for teammates who were racially abused is now locked in a legal battle with Football New South Wales.
- Angus Chance was injured in a one-punch attack after he defended teammates who had been racially abused
- Football NSW did not offer to cover any of his medical bills, and Angus’ father Chris was told the injuries inflicted were not covered because a criminal act had occurred
- Football NSW are now open to covering the medical costs — but the ordeal has already cost both parties thousands of dollars in legal bills
Angus Chance, 23, says the powerful soccer organisation has fought him every step of the way along his painful recovery.
In May 2018, Mr Chance was training at Dulwich Hill Football Club, where three visiting Japanese players were also in attendance, trialling for a club.
About an hour into training, a teammate lost patience with them, calling the triallists “Japanese c****s”.
“A few more words were exchanged, and he pushed me … like with two hands, and it caused me to tumble backwards,” Mr Chance told 7.30.
“As I regained my balance, I’m not too sure what happened from there, to my memory.
“But I do know that I probably said something else back at him as a reaction to being pushed. And then that’s where I was hit to the left side of my jaw.”
The attack left Mr Chance with severe injuries to his face, which he says he is still recovering from, while the attacker was charged with grievous bodily harm and sentenced to 20 months of home detention.
The perpetrator claimed he was enraged at being called a racist by Mr Chance, as he is of Jamaican heritage.
Significant financial stress for the family
Despite the injuries inflicted on Mr Chance and his defence of the Japanese players, Football NSW has not offered to cover any of Mr Chance’s medical bills — which he says now total almost $90,000, and has caused his family significant financial stress.
The ordeal has cost both parties hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills.
It’s believed Football NSW is now open to resolving the matter.
Meanwhile, a senior source within Football Australia (FFA) has also confirmed that its executives were disappointed that the matter had not been resolved, but stressed it has no direct control over the running of the game in respective states.
“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,” a spokesperson from the FFA told the ABC.
“I never wanted this to be with lawyers, I never wanted this to be in the courts,” Mr Chance told 7.30.
“I never wanted to be in a situation where, three years later, I’m still in the courts for something I’m trying to desperately put behind me.”
Football NSW now in talks with family
In a statement, a Football NSW spokesperson said it was talking with Mr Chance, and “continues to meet with the Chance family and their representative with the sole intention of supporting the wellbeing of Angus and his family.”
An earlier statement from Football NSW also said the Chance’s never lodged an insurance claim after the incident.
However, this was because Angus’s father, Chris Chance, was told the injuries inflicted on his son were not covered because a criminal act had occurred.
He claims he went to Football NSW in good faith, but it was unwilling to assist.
“My understanding was that everybody would rally around to sort the matter out so we can all move on. But it just has not turned out that way,” Chris Chance said.
‘As a sport, we have let Angus down’
The wider football community is now rallying behind Angus Chance with former Socceroos Francis Awaritefe and Craig Foster offering their support.
“I think as a sport, we have let Angus down,” Mr Awaritefe said.
“They’ve got to place the rights holder at the centre of how they deal with these matters, and I think that that’s the problem when you revert to this legalistic compliance mentality.
“This leads to the situation we now have, when you’re actually contributing to the pain and the harm that has already been caused.”
Craig Foster, now a human rights advocate, has penned an open letter urging Football NSW to help the Chance family.
“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,” Foster wrote.