FFA announce ruling on Wanderers banner

14/08/2019 Posted by admin

At the centre of the storm: A cropped section of the offending banner.Football Federation has found Western Sydney Wanderers guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and fined the club $20,000 in response to an offensive banner raised by their supporters during last weekend’s Sydney derby.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The FFA opted not to deduct competition points from the club after it vowed to ban 14 members of its active supporter group, the Red and Black Bloc. Several leaders of the RBB were among those who will be denied entry to games for 18 months by the club, who took the unusual step in cancelling their own fans’ memberships.

The club threatened to disband the RBB and active supporter area if the group breaches the spectator code of behaviour with either poor behaviour at games or offensive messages on social media. Those RBB members banned for raising the offensive banner will also be forced to undergo a recognised social inclusion program before they can reapply for season tickets.

The Wanderers were staring down the barrel of a points deduction, with a suspended three-point penalty in danger of being triggered by serious incidents of fan trouble. While sections of the media, gay and lesbian rights groups and rival clubs urged FFA to come down hard on the Wanderers and the RBB, it’s understood the hardline stance the club took towards their supporters was sufficient to appease the governing body.

Fairfax Media understands FFA wasn’t pleased that it took the Wanderers four days to issue such a stern condemnation of the offensive banner raised in last weekend’s Sydney derby that depicted Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold performing oral sex. However, FFA was encouraged with the severity in which the Wanderers eventually identified and punished several leaders of the RBB and took responsibility for the behaviour of their supporters.

The club has a history of fan troubles since its inception in 2012 and FFA came under pressure to issue the harshest punishment possible and take points off the Wanderers. Sources suggest the governing body believes the response from the club is strong enough to influence the behaviour of its fans. FFA sources informed TheHerald that the Wanderers unprecedented action against their fans was a strong showing of leadership that has not before been seen by a club that has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to curb the behaviour of the RBB.

“While we have noted and were pleased with the positive proactive measures undertaken by the Western Sydney Wanderers the fine reflects the fact clubs are responsible for the actions of their spectators and managing the approval of the game-day banners and activities of their active fan groups,” Greg O’Rourke, head of the A-League, said.

“The actions of the Western Sydney Wanderers spectators responsible for displaying the banner and the ensuing celebration of the banner on social media were completely unacceptable.”

The Wanderers issued a brief statement on Thursday afternoon accepting the fine and verdict. FFA are also investigating allegations of brawls involving supporters of the Wanderers and Sydney FC that reportedly took place during Saturday’s game.

The Wanderers were hit with a suspended three-point penalty in February last year when fans lit dozens of flares during a match. The suspended penalty was extended for another 12 months after their active supporters ignited a number of flares during the first Sydney derby this season in October.

FFA has not ruled out activating the points penalty in the event of another serious incident that is consistent with past behaviour.

Comments are closed.