In The Beginning… Sydney Prague FC – FIFA Bans

Prague FC Update

After publishing our first article on Prague, we came across new information that we thought people might enjoy hearing about.

Australia was made subject to international bans by FIFA from 1959-1963. Many factors were involved however the largest single factor arose from a single club. You guessed it, Prague.

Prague signed 5 Austrian players all from FK Austria who had toured in 1957. The signings took place in 1958/59.

However, none of the 5 players had received clearance from their Austrian club to transfer, nor had their club received any transfer fees.

After complaints from FK Austria and the Austrian FA, FIFA banned the 5 players in May 1959.

A lot of complications then occurred due to the NSW federation affiliating with the Australian Soccer Football Association who was an affiliate of FIFA.

Lost? Good.

The NSW Federation had sidestepped it’s responsibility in upholding the players bans, and as the leading soccer state, held power over the ASFA who did not want to risk their withdrawal.

The NSW Federation and ASFA sent representatives to Europe to explain, but ultimately their arguments were rejected.

They argued that the players did not come as footballer, but as immigrants, and that immigrants should not be subject to transfer fees if they wished to play football after arriving in Australia.

FIFA issued a blanket ban on Australian soccer on 5th April 1960.

Prague wasn’t quite done yet, recruiting 2 more players without clearances; Herbert Ninaus in June 1959 and his brother Erwin in 1969.

This started a wave of rule breaking from clubs such Sydney Hakoah, Melbourne Hakoah, Sydney Austral, etc.

In total 31 players were banned between 1959 and 1963.

By signing overseas stars, the clubs were able to generate increased revenue and media attention, allowing it to battle with its winter sports rivals.

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