A-League fans continue their stadium walkouts

Mariners fans hold up a sign during the round eight A-League match between the Central Coast Mariners and the Western Sydney Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford. Photo: Ashley Feder/Getty Images.
Mariners fans hold up a sign during the round eight A-League match between the Central Coast Mariners and the Western Sydney Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford. Photo: Ashley Feder/Getty Images.

FOOTBALL Federation Australia is facing a crisis after another fan walkout at Central Coast Stadium.

Hundreds of Wanderers fans got up from their seats and walked out of the ground at the half-hour mark in the match between Central Coast and Western Sydney, following on from a similar protest in the game between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United on Saturday night.

That clash at AAMI Park in Melbourne saw up to 1000 Victory fans walk out as the protest against perceived poor treatment of fans by the FFA gathers pace.

Tensions have risen since News Ltd newspapers published a "shame file" of 198 people who have banned from A-League clubs - almost half of those from Western Sydney - for offences ranging from assaults to flare lighting inside grounds.

Security was ramped up at Central Coast Stadium with extra police brought in to take swift action against possible troublemakers.

The key issue for many fans is the lack of an appeal process for those people who have been banned, some of them for life.

That situation has been supported by fans of most clubs, with banners supporting the push for an appeals process being shown at most games across the round.

At the Melbourne City versus Perth clash at AAMI Park on Friday night - where a paltry 5953 supporters turned up - banners which read 'No Fans No Football', 'No appeals No Justice' and 'Terraces not Terrorists', in reference to broadcaster Alan Jones comparing fans to Islamist terrorists in Paris, were unfurled. City fans also produced a 'We Stand By the 198' banner before security confiscated it and ripped it up.

 

 

That crowd was the lowest of the season, and combined with the walkout at the Victory match the following night, prompted commentator Mark Bosnich to make an impassioned plea to the game's administrators.

"They have every right to do that," Bosnich said in reference to the walk out. "They've paid their money. It's a peaceful protest.

"I've said to the FFA and I'm saying to them again now: please install a fair, proper appeals process and remember this as well, you must stand up for your supporters because the fans can do without football, but football cannot do without its fans.

"That is it. I'm begging you now, this is getting past serious. You've got to do something."

As well as the lack of an appeals process, other fans claim they are treated much more suspiciously and harshly than fans of other football codes in Australia.
Members of Sydney FC's supporters group, The Cove, will meet New South Wales assistant police commissioner Kyle Stewart tomorrow in the hope of encouraging a more collaborative and conciliatory style of policing at A-League games.


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