Fans who breach Football Federation Australia's (FFA) Spectator Code of Conduct and state laws will face bans and criminal charges, the governing body today announced.
After a series of isolated crowd incidents at A-league pre-season matches, FFA in conjunction with NSW police, released tough new measures aimed at deterring fans from causing trouble at football matches.
A-League chief Damien De Bohun welcomed the increased support of NSW Police in dealing with the contentious issue of anti-social behaviour at football matches.
“All football fans have the right to enjoy watching our sport in a safe and comfortable environment," De Bohun said. "As such we have adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards those that jeopardise the enjoyment of others.
“FFA has developed a comprehensive security program modelled on best practice principles adopted from major event security operations.
"Under this program, persons who engage in serious acts of anti-social behaviour will be excluded or banned by FFA from attending future matches.
“We make no apologies for adopting a hard line approach to disruptive behaviour at our events and we welcome the assistance of NSW Police in supporting our position.
“Our banning program is aimed at excluding a small minority of persons who are intent on causing trouble.
"The vast majority of our spectators, including our active supporter groups, are passionate football fans who endorse our position in response to this unacceptable behaviour.
“We work very closely with our Security Advisers, Clubs, Police, Venues and their contract security providers to investigate all serious incidents. Offenders involved in recent incidents will be identified and face the potential of life bans for their actions.
“We are committed to stamping out disruptive behaviour at all of our sanctioned events and making each event safe, secure and family friendly,” concluded De Bohun.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford welcomed the tough stance that FFA has taken in regard to anti-social and illegal spectator behaviour at football matches.
“Our Police liaise with the FFA and a banning system has been set up on the basis of information exchange. Police provide details of those charged to the FFA so they can be considered for banning.
“History shows these bans have a big impact on reducing further instances of violence,” concluded Assistant Commissioner Clifford.
Since the implementation of the FFA Security Program in 2008 a total of 43 people have been banned from FFA events. In addition there are six bans pending and a number of incidents under investigation that are likely to result in significant bans for offenders.
As an example of the cooperative approach between FFA and NSW Police, after recent incidents at football matches in Sydney, five (5) individuals were charged with a variety of offences and have received bans ranging from 3-5 years.
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