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

Is the RBB overreacting? (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Editor
26th February, 2018
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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.

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“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.