Australia vows to punish fans for Nazi salutes at football final
SYDNEY - Football bosses vowed on Sunday to act swiftly against fans accused of making Nazi salutes and shouting over an indigenous welcoming ceremony at the Australia Cup final, prompting widespread outrage.
Fans at the game between A-League side Macarthur FC and semi-professional Sydney United 58 on Saturday were also heard chanting far-right Croatian songs, newspapers reported.
Football Australia said it "strongly condemns" what it described as a small minority of the 16,461 spectators during Macarthur's 2-0 win over the team formerly known as Sydney Croatia, founded in 1958.
Eight people were evicted from western Sydney's CommBank Stadium, it said.
"Football Australia is today assessing all footage and images available of certain individuals which are of concern to our organisation and the broader Australian football community, including the display of the 'Hitler salute'," the governing body said.
It said it was working with police and the stadium to determine "strong and swift action" against offenders, warning some fan behaviour may be illegal under New South Wales state law.
The national governing body also acknowledged "unacceptable" crowd noise during a "welcome to country" ceremony acknowledging indigenous people's link to the land.
Jewish community representatives condemned those who made Nazi salutes.
"These vile salutes have no place in modern Australian society and we call on Football Australia to take immediate action against the perpetrators," the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies said in a statement.
Players also demanded action.
On the pitch, the game is about fairness, respect and courage, Professional Footballers Australia said in a statement. "Unfortunately, in the stands these values were shattered."
The players called on the authorities to respond.
The players' association said: "The key matter the game must address is the impact it has had on people in our community."
Players promised to engage with anyone that was "targeted - and rightly distressed - by alleged fascist chanting and gestures". - AFP