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OLYMPIC SPIRIT ALIVE AND KICKING IN THE SUBURBS

After a 2004 finals game played at Ireland Park, the NSW Soccer website reported "a story of the sportsmanship we should all aspire to!"

In a world-class display of sportsmanship, amateur soccer player Kerry Agiasotis has upheld the highest values of the Olympic spirit and FIFA's Fair Play ethos – at considerable personal cost.

On Sunday in the Southern Districts All Age Men Division 2 Grand Final, the score was locked at 0-0 between Liverpool Olympic and Chipping Norton. An Olympic player went down with injury.

In a moment of confusion that followed, most players came to a standstill expecting the ball to be kicked out of play to allow for treatment, as is the custom. But two people didn’t hear the calls to "put the ball out” – the referee and the Olympic player advancing on goal…

As the Chipping Norton defenders hesitated, the Olympic player put the ball into the net. The referee awarded the goal, much to his dismay when he turned to see the Chipping Norton and Olympic players dumbfounded by the turn of events.

Under the Laws of the Game, the referee had no authority to disallow a “good” goal and explained this to the players. 1-0 Olympic.

That’s when Olympic’s Captain/Coach, Kerry Agiasotis, rose to the occasion. He quickly consulted his team then asked Chipping Norton to kick the ball to him at the re-start.

Kerry then dribbled the ball to his own goal and calmly “scored” an equaliser. 1-1 and justice was seen to be done. The Grand Final was a thrilling contest after that.

Olympic was leading 2-1 with only a few minutes left to play, but Chipping Norton scored the equaliser, putting the match into sudden-death Golden Goal Extra Time. Chipping Norton emerged triumphant 3-2.

It was then that the truly magnificent sportsmanship of Kerry Agiasotis was plain for all to see. The Olympic Captain/Coach warmly congratulated Chipping Norton, making no mention of the disappointment he was feeling.

Kerry Agiasotis had just suffered his FIFTH GRAND FINAL DEFEAT IN SIX YEARS!

He very modestly accepted the praise for his exceptional sportsmanship, but said he had no regrets about his “own goal”. It was a team decision, he insisted.