Fan revolt in A-League
A-League faces biggest crisis since its formation 11 years ago
Football in Australia is facing a fan revolt.
Plans are afoot to boycott A-League games, as fury grows over the publication of a confidential list of supporters banned from stadiums around the country.
Anger has been mounting since News Corp Australia last week published names and photos of 198 banned A-League fans, labelling some as “louts” on a par with the worst elements of European football hooliganism.
Fans are unhappy with Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) heavyhandedness and their lack of support in defending fans over perceived biased media coverage.
Fans at one of the best-supported clubs in the league, Western Sydney Wanderers, said they would boycott Saturday’s match gainst Brisbane Roar, describing FFA boss David Gallop’s response to the furore as “shambolic”.
“This is the only way to continue sending a strong message to the FFA that we will not stand for its inept administration of our game,” a Facebook statement from supporter group Red and Black Bloc said.
“The FFA cannot use the fans as a marketing tool but then continually mistreat them, while asking them to help grow the game,” it added.
Supporters have long held reservations over FFA’s security policy, which provides banned spectators with no avenue for appeal.
Several of those on the leaked list feel they have been wrongly banned.
The group said boycotts would continue until Gallop and A-League head Damien De Bohun presented active supporter groups with a transparent ban-appeals process agreed upon by all parties.
Sydney FC fans said they would join the boycott, skipping their upcoming home game against Newcastle Jets.
“We have consulted with numerous other fan groups, most of whom will do the same,” the group, known as The Cove, said in a Facebook statement.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold said this is one of the biggest problems in the 11-year-history of the ALeague.
“Without the TV rights and without the fans, there is no game in this country,” he said.
“It’s something that needs to be addressed because we can’t afford to lose the fans. If it’s not addressed, how do you win them back? It’s massive.” - AFP.
"The banning system has served its purpose for seven seasons, but like any process it needs fine-tuning. We accept that the system needs some clarification and better communication."
- Football Australia boss David Gallop on the latest crisis
Worawi may be back as boss
Football Association of Thailand (FAT) President Worawi Makudi (above), who is serving a 90-day Fifa suspension for possible ethics breaches, was given hope of retaining power after it was announced that elections would take place after his ban expired.
The Fifa-appointed “normalisation committee”, put in charge of arranging the vote after the world governing body removed the entire FAT executive committee last month, said the delayed elections would take place on Feb 11.
Applications to contest the elections must be made by Jan 11, a day after the Fifa ban on Worawi expires. Worawi, 63, who had been FAT president since 2007, was provisionally banned in October while Fifa conducted a formal investigation into possible wrongdoing.
The FAT elections, scheduled for Oct 17, was postponed following his suspension. — Reuters.