Western Sydney Wanderers shut down active support area for clash with Glory

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By Scott Pryde, Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    The Western Sydney Wanderers have taken the step of closing their active support area for their next home A-League clash against the Perth Glory on March 4 after flares were let off during the Sydney derby last weekend.

    After taking an early lead against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Sunday evening, flares were let off in the active support area for the Wanderers, also known as the Red and Black Bloc.

    Unsurprisingly, the FFA have since issues the club a show cause notice for the incident under the national code of conduct. They have until 5pm (AEDT) on Thursday to respond.

    Head of the A-League, Greg O’Rourke said the FFA were working with the Wanderers.

    “We will continue to work with all our clubs, venues, security and the police authorities to maintain a safe and secure environment for the vast majority of football fans who attend matches and support their team in a peaceful and good-natured way week in and week out,” he said.

    It’s not the first time flares have played their part in A-League games, with multiple incidents occurring across the league during the back-end of 2016.

    The Wanderers were one of the clubs involved early on in the 2016-17 season and while incidents have been at a minimum this season, the annoyance of fans at the FFA’s role in the game has become clear to see with members of the RBB holding banners and wearing shirts aimed at the FFA during the game.

    In an official statement, the Wanderers said they were investigating the issue.

    “The Western Sydney Wanderers maintains its position that it will not accept offensive behaviour being displayed at its matches and also will not accept the illegal use of incendiary devices,” the statement read.

    “The Western Sydney Wanderers maintain that the majority of those members in the active area have been outstanding and supportive of the club and the team. Unfortunately a small group have made this action unavoidable. Investigation into those directly responsible for the lighting of flares is continuing.”

    The closure follows a war of words off the field between club executives.

    Wanderers chief John Tsatsimas said FC fans had tried to enter the Wanderers seating area throughout the game on two separate occasions.

    “Of significant concern for us was the two separate incursions into our active support areas by opposition supporters in their jerseys designed to inflame hostilities,” said Tsatsimas.

    “This cannot be allowed and raises concerns about the processes in place for the game.”

    The active area is due to be re-opened to Wanderers supporters for their following home match against the Wellington Phoenix on March 10.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 2000 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (133)

    • February 27th 2018 @ 12:57pm
      Waz said | February 27th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

      The war on fans is nearly won. In isdolation this is not a big deal but in the context of what’s happening across the game it’s just another stuff up.

      The FFA will be pleased with this – all those empty seats they can now fill with AFL and NRL supporters looking for a family friendly experience. Only they ain’t coming are they.

      Average crowds might be down below 11k and the game on its knees financially but let’s keep attacking all football supporters in an attempt to weed out the few morons.

      It’s as if we need a complete reset on how we’re aporoaching football in this country.

      • Roar Guru

        February 27th 2018 @ 3:27pm
        AdelaideDocker said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

        “War on fans”

        What rubbish. Police targeting speeding isn’t a war on drivers, it’s a war on speeders. Councils issuing tickets isn’t a war on parkers, it’s a war on people who break the law.

        This isn’t a war on fans. It’s a war on people who continually break the rules of the stadium and the law of the police.

        What hysteria.

        • February 27th 2018 @ 3:48pm
          Nemesis said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

          Yet again.

          Such extraordinary level of interest in ALeague issues from people who don’t watch ALeague.

          I read today the AFL was investigating racist abuse of players at an AFL match last weekend. No doubt there’s an article condemning this on The Roar’s AFL Discussion Bored? I could go & offer my opinions, but I’ve got zero interest in AFL & its racist fans.

          I’ll always stand with ethnics with flares, but will never ever associate with racist bogans hurling abuse at people with dark skin.

          • Roar Guru

            February 27th 2018 @ 3:57pm
            AdelaideDocker said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

            Nem, I’ve never said I don’t watch the a-League. Please show me where I’ve said that?

            Also, what on earth does that last sentence mean?

          • February 27th 2018 @ 7:44pm
            Andy og said | February 27th 2018 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

            Cmon mate how many instances of racism in European football. Trying to label one code code racist is ridiculous. I used to stand in the outer at braybrook stadium. It was pretty willing.

            • February 27th 2018 @ 8:25pm
              Nemesis said | February 27th 2018 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

              What’s the relevance of European football to ALeague fans?

              AFL fans have a problem accepting dark skin people. Cricket also. We don’t hear any issues in Australia with Basketball, Football, Rugby, Volleyball, Baseball, Netball.

              Just AFL & Cricket. Predominantly mono-ethnic white skin fans and they have a dislike for & won’t accept dark skin people.

              • Roar Guru

                February 27th 2018 @ 8:42pm
                AdelaideDocker said | February 27th 2018 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

                That’s beyond nonsense, Nem.

                3 or 4 racist incidents are terrible for the sport, no doubt. But it’s a huge leap of logic to declare the league itself won’t accept “dark skinned people”. It’s pure, unadulterated rubbish.

                There’s dozens of Aboriginal players throughout the ranks – 33 of them. Programs designed to encourage aboriginal involvement. A few players from African nations or of dark skinned appearance in top league teams (5 of them). Big diversity programs in the corporate ranks.

                Hell, one of my new lecturers at uni is part of the AFL’s diversity committee.

                How many Aboriginal players are there in a-League ranks? Just curious.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 27th 2018 @ 3:48pm
          Waz said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

          It’s easy to see you’ve been drawn to this article by the headline but maybe you should stay on the AFL tab and deal with issues of drugs and racism in your sport?

          If you were a regular on these pages you would understand the concept that is the “war on fans” and it’s not being waged by the police or stadium security but by the ffa. And it’s not about flares or anti social behaviour, most fans oppose that, instead it’s about the ffa wanting to sanitise football grounds and make them sterile venues.

          A simple example of this war is if you go to an A League ground this weekend and wave the Swiss flag you will have it confiscated, and if you object you will be ejected from the ground.

          • Roar Guru

            February 27th 2018 @ 4:05pm
            AdelaideDocker said | February 27th 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

            Sorry, I will admit I was far to combative with my reply to you, Waz.

            Yeah, I’ve heard about that broader ‘war on fans’. I don’t have any objections with the fan communities’ disparagement towards the FFA about this.

            I just didn’t want anyone to associate the Wanderer’s actions with the FFA’s iron-fisted rule.

            • Roar Rookie

              February 27th 2018 @ 4:09pm
              Waz said | February 27th 2018 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

              I can let you off ?

          • February 27th 2018 @ 5:53pm
            Buddy said | February 27th 2018 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

            Although I noticed a fair sprinkling of Brazilian flags at Suncorp last weekend to welcome back the little messiah….please tell me the police didn’t move in and confiscate them or eject a bunch of fans that were just happy to see the return of Enrique?

            • February 27th 2018 @ 5:59pm
              Kangajets said | February 27th 2018 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

              I want to see all countries flags ,

              What a stupid law , that you can’t bring an Argentina flag in to support Pato Rodriguez for example.

              Who thinks up these dumb fan rules

              What abt the homer Simpson’s Aussie bum booting flag,, can I bring that to the jets game ?

        • February 27th 2018 @ 11:01pm
          Malo said | February 27th 2018 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

          Nanny state mentality, lets increase security and make it as miserable as possible the fans. What’s next no cheering.

      • Roar Guru

        February 27th 2018 @ 9:07pm
        Cousin Claudio said | February 27th 2018 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

        I’ve been a football fan in this country all my life and there’s never been a war on me.

        Not a good time to make a statement with flares.

        They are on a suspended sentence so the FFA faces no option but to deduct competition points and probably Wanderers will miss the finals series at potentially hunderds of thousands of dollars cost.

        I hope they are proud of what they have done.

        The only coverage football is getting since the weekend is the sight of these idiots letting off flares. Just what the football haters wanted.

    • February 27th 2018 @ 1:19pm
      Glen said | February 27th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

      Sad day when an opposition fan can’t even enter a supporter area without it being a drama.

      • February 27th 2018 @ 2:19pm
        chris said | February 27th 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

        what are you talking about? Were you there?
        Have you ever been?

        • February 27th 2018 @ 5:05pm
          Glen said | February 27th 2018 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

          Yes I have been to Wanderers matches and am a member. I have not sat in Active Support. If I as a Wanderers member couldn’t visit a friend in the Active Support area of Sydney FC then I would view that as sad.

          My comment was in relation to the following part of the article:

          “Wanderers chief John Tsatsimas said FC fans had tried to enter the Wanderers seating area throughout the game on two separate occasions.

          “Of significant concern for us was the two separate incursions into our active support areas by opposition supporters in their jerseys designed to inflame hostilities,” said Tsatsimas.

          “This cannot be allowed and raises concerns about the processes in place for the game.”

          • Roar Guru

            February 27th 2018 @ 9:11pm
            Cousin Claudio said | February 27th 2018 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

            I was there and saw it all.
            2 drunken fans started taunting the Wanderers fans. They didn’t have SFC shirts on and they were at the wrong end of the field so they were not from the cove or even sure if they were SFC fans.

            The police quickly dived in and got them in a headlock and took them away.
            No great drama from what I saw and no excuse for the Wanderers fans to charge at the police.

            This was very late in the game, the damage was already done with the flares an hour earlier.

          • February 28th 2018 @ 9:20am
            Post_hoc said | February 28th 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

            IF you were a member you would would realise that Active Support membership is required to be in the Active support area. Basically you are saying Gee it’s pretty sad that I am a general admission member but I can’t sit with my mate in the the Red members area, the fact that membership costs about $500 difference has nothing to do with it lol

            • February 28th 2018 @ 12:32pm
              Glen said | February 28th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

              I never said anything about sitting with my mate. What if I want to pop over for a chat at half time or to give him a sandwich? I should be able to do that without it being a safety issue.

              And I am not talking about the team I am a member of. I should be able to walk into an opposition member area without it being a problem. There is a difference between visiting and inciting violence.

              • February 28th 2018 @ 2:28pm
                Post_hoc said | February 28th 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                Active Areas are ticketed areas only, you can’t enter without a ticket, what is the issue there? I can’t get into a members bar to give a mate a sandwich at half time, whats the difference?

                If your mate was one bay over from the away or home fans area you could sit down with him and discuss anything you want, again what is the issue? I think you are trying to say something but want to ‘appear’ to be a football fan.

              • February 28th 2018 @ 3:25pm
                Mark said | February 28th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

                Exactly right. At the MCG I can’t visit the MCC members area, or the AFL members area. At Etihad I can’t visit the Medallion Club area. There is absolutely no difference.

                I’ve been to the away area at Allianz on numerous occasions, and caught up with friends who are Sydney FC supporters without any problems whatsoever. Meet up at the edge of the away area and behave like responsible adults, and there are no issues.

              • February 28th 2018 @ 3:27pm
                Glen said | February 28th 2018 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

                Appear as a football fan? I’m a foundation member so that’s a bit unfair.

                The quote from John Tsatsimas seemed to imply that there was a risk that Syd FC fans entering the WSW area would be a safety issue – hence the term in the article “inflame hostilities”.

                I completely agree with people sitting where their tickets are. However if seating needs to be segregated and security put in place in order to ensure hostilities are not ‘inflamed’ we’ve gone a step too far in our passion IMO. It’s just a sport.

    • February 27th 2018 @ 1:42pm
      Waz said | February 27th 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

      The WSW and the FFA are underestimating the real need for active support at our games, which is something that can’t be over regulated or fully controlled, meanwhile the active groups especially the RBB overestimate their own importance and fail to see the need for some regulation and self-control. It’s a classic lose-lose which is what football is becoming good at.

      • February 27th 2018 @ 6:01pm
        Buddy said | February 27th 2018 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

        There are quite a few factions within the RBB Waz. It isn’t a united bunch by any means. Separate to that there is the WST – Western Sydney Terrace that are a unique group, pretty vocal and stand in a different part of the ground. The fans are by no means united in their opposition to FFA but the sanitization program is almost complete now, especially with this latest move. Having grown up in the UK in the 70’s and 80’s and witnessed first hand the very dark days and dark deeds that happened, I understand what we want kept out of the game but I’d hate a silent crowd, or one that just goes oh ar every now and then. I will stop going when there is no atmosphere at a game, created by an active supporter group. It has been an integral part of the game for a long time and I for one don’t wish to see a fully sanitized product.

    • February 27th 2018 @ 1:55pm
      shirtpants said | February 27th 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

      Nothing is stopping those pepple

    • February 27th 2018 @ 1:55pm
      shirtpants said | February 27th 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

      Nothing is stopping those people from attending or a supporter group purchasing a bulk amount of tickets. They’ve essentially moved the problem, or wanderers supporters will boycott

    • February 27th 2018 @ 1:57pm
      Nemesis said | February 27th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

      Ridiculous over-reaction from WSW. A flare was lit. So what. Let NSW Police deal with it, just like NSW Police will deal with fans who broke the speed laws when driving home, or broke the drink-driving laws, or jaywalked outside the stadium.

      • Roar Guru

        February 27th 2018 @ 2:12pm
        AdelaideDocker said | February 27th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

        They were WSW fans sitting in a WSW support section at a WSW game. NSW Police will obviously do their thing, but there’s somewhat of an onus on the Wanderers themselves to take action.

        I don’t believe WSW has wanted to do this, but I do believe they’ve reached their limit. This has been happening for a while, and this is more than a reasonable punishment.

        • February 27th 2018 @ 2:47pm
          Nemesis said | February 27th 2018 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

          Utter nonsense. And, given you’re not part of the ALeague community, I don’t see why you’re even involved in this discussion. Your input on ALeague is as relevant as my input for how to deal with banana throwing fans at AFL.

          I’m an MVFC fan.

          If I break the law when
          – I’m outside the stadium
          – inside the stadium
          – in a pub 100 km away from the stadium
          – in a pub next door to the stadium
          – driving to the stadium
          – wearing an MVFC shirt at a shopping centre…

          I am to blame.

          Nothing to do with MVFC.
          I am to blame.

          • Roar Guru

            February 27th 2018 @ 2:57pm
            AdelaideDocker said | February 27th 2018 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

            Oh, wow. What a terrible mindset to have.

            No, WSW isn’t to blame. At all. But, given it’s their fans that are continually breaking the law and doing this sort of rubbish, I don’t have any objection to them closing the troublesome section for their next home game.

            Also, on those “banana throwing fans”, you’ll notice that even though they weren’t to blame, the clubs they supported came down hard and condemned their actions. Which is exactly what the Wanderer’s hierarchy is doing.

            • Roar Rookie

              February 27th 2018 @ 3:11pm
              Waz said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

              There was a fight at my local pub on Saturday night, for the second weekend running, is it fair to close the pub? Or ban all male customers?

              • Roar Guru

                February 27th 2018 @ 3:25pm
                AdelaideDocker said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

                Well, no. I’d assume you’d ban those responsible for instigating the fights, yes?

                WSW are closing the section for one game, whilst they investigate with the police.

                It isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. It’s the Wanderers taking an action that they haven’t done in the past few years whilst this has been going on. It’s probably about time, given other efforts have failed to stop this rubbish.

              • Roar Rookie

                February 27th 2018 @ 3:49pm
                Waz said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

                “Well no” is the right answer. The many should not get punished for the actions of a few.

              • February 27th 2018 @ 3:41pm
                Mushi said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

                Actually if you have too many violent incidents at a licensed premises then there are consequences in NSW

              • February 27th 2018 @ 7:12pm
                Cool N Cold said | February 27th 2018 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

                “There was a fight at my local pub on Saturday night, for the second weekend running, is it fair to close the pub? Or ban all male customers?”

                Real interesting!

              • February 28th 2018 @ 8:38am
                Post_hoc said | February 28th 2018 @ 8:38am | ! Report

                Mushi, flares are not violence, I presume (I wasn’t there but I can only presume having been to nearly every home game since the Wanderers entered the competition) I presume there was swearing in that section, swearing as I am aware is an offence and I am not sure about NSW but in Queensland and Victoria you can be jailed. The same for flares at a sporting event.

                I have yet to see anyone arrested in front of me for swearing at a football match, yet both instances can carry jail time?

            • February 27th 2018 @ 6:06pm
              Buddy said | February 27th 2018 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

              I protest on your point that our fans continually break the law or are involved in incidents on a regular basis unless definitions have changed. That was the first time this season that flares have been ripped at a Wanderers game that I have attended. That’s all home gmes, 2 derbies at Allianz, Newcastle, Central Coast, a couple in Melbourne, Brisbane and Wellington. I concede the fans have been involved in enough incidents since inception to create a reputation and an image of regular problems but that might just be in comparison to other groups.

          • February 27th 2018 @ 3:32pm
            WSWMember said | February 27th 2018 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

            I am a WSW Foundation member – am I allowed to be involved in this discussion Nemesis?

            The WSW club has made it very clear this season to all fans, members & RBB active supporters that the lighting of flares (which is illegal) & anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated by the club. A letter was sent to all members prior to the beginning of this season warning that there will be consequences if the club’s expectations were not met.

            As a member I agree with the club’s stance on this matter. Yes, the lighting of flares is illegal & it is a NSW police matter but WSW has every right to enforce its Code of Conduct & demand a certain standard of behaviour to protect its reputation & uphold the expectations of its members & stakeholders.

            The RBB & all active support are a wonderful element of our game however some of our RBB members take themselves too seriously, believe they are above the law & are more important than our team. Hopefully a week of ‘suspension’ will send a message to the rogue element within the RBB that such anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated or maybe they will just ‘spit the dummy’ & decide to boycott again. Let’s just hope that the FFA does not dock us three points as well – the loss was painful enough!!

            • February 27th 2018 @ 6:10pm
              Buddy said | February 27th 2018 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

              Trouble is it won’t send the message to those that want to behave in that manner. My guess is that whoever was responsible on Sunday night was not a regular in the active bays this season….either that or they just got bored of being good all season and “seized the moment”. There is an element who will comtinue to test the patience of the club and authorities as they live for the moment they are able to defy everyone and stick their collective fingers up at whoever it is they see as the enemy.

          • February 27th 2018 @ 4:59pm
            Perry Bridge said | February 27th 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report


            When a particular section of a crowd (at a stadium) is causing trouble over and over then – we see things such as – heavy policing of the traditional ‘Bay 13’ area at the MCG, we see such things as a total restructuring of AFL cheer squads – and we see the RBB at WSW coming under scrutiny. I assume we agree that that’s a given??

            The ‘consequences’ for actions is important – and important to be seen.

            The irony of your attempts to deflect is that – the banana throwing incident was a once off and the offending female was fined, banned and effectively punished. The incident was a one off. Were there a regular occurrence of banana throwing from a particular section of the crowd – and we that a designated supporter/member section – then YES I WOULD expect the club to take a level of responsibility to sort out their supporters.

            Reality though – the club can revoke memberships, the venue can ban access and the police can prosecute if that’s a course of action that is available. And certainly flares fit that category.

            And this is were it gets back to the importance of consequences being seen to be applied. WSW are very visible at present. That’s a good thing!! The big story in the Australian featuring the aggressive slogans and imagery of RBB (morons) fans – that’s NOT a good thing. Do you see the distinction??

            • Roar Guru

              February 27th 2018 @ 8:47pm
              AdelaideDocker said | February 27th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

              Superb post, Perry.

              Encapsulated much of my own thoughts.

      • Roar Guru

        February 27th 2018 @ 9:15pm
        Cousin Claudio said | February 27th 2018 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

        They are on a suspended sentence for points deduction for lighting flares, so the FFA has to deduct points.
        It could cost Wanderers making the semis and will lose them lots of money if they do.

        Think flares aren’t a problem. Take a look at the press reports on commercial TV and the damage its doing to football and the A-League.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 27th 2018 @ 11:38pm
          Waz said | February 27th 2018 @ 11:38pm | ! Report

          “It could cost Wanderers making the semis and will lose them lots of money if they do” … clubs don’t make any more net from football makes football. All the revenue goes to the ffa so making the semi’s won’t matter.

        • February 28th 2018 @ 8:41am
          Post_hoc said | February 28th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

          Claudio, you are wrong on the point of the suspended sentence as well, that has expired, probation was over

        • Roar Guru

          February 28th 2018 @ 12:34pm
          Cousin Claudio said | February 28th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          “Wanderers fans took part in a pre-meditated and coordinated series of incidents including the ignition of flares and detonators and the display of unauthorised banners,” the FFA statement said.

          The FFA said if they find any future “serious incident” occurs, the club must lose three points “immediately”.

          • February 28th 2018 @ 2:02pm
            Post_hoc said | February 28th 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

            I believe Claudio that was for 12 or 18 months, which was over 18 months ago

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