Soccer fans banned from stand for firing up flares
The Western Sydney Wanderers will close the Red and Black Bloc (RBB) supporter area for one game, after fans lit flares during the Sydney derby.
The flares were set off in the visiting supporters area during the clash between Sydney FC and the Wanderers at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday.
In July last year, Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas threatened to close the club's active support area "for an indefinite period" if RBB members lit flares.
Today, Mr Tsatsimas made good on that threat.
He has notified club members the active support area, which is usually put aside for the vocal home ground fans, will be closed for the match against Perth Glory at Homebush on Sunday.
"Unfortunately a small group have made this action unavoidable," Mr Tsatsimas said.
"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."
However, RBB members will not be banned from attended the match.
"Members who normally attend in the Active Area will be subjected to alternative seating arrangements."
The supporters' area will be reopened for the club's following match against the Wellington Phoenix.
Flare investigation continues
Five fans were charged with assaulting police, resisting arrest and offensive behaviour after the Sydney derby on Sunday.
Today, the Football Federation Australia issued Wanderers with a show cause notice over the flares.
The western Sydney club has until Thursday to respond.
In a statement, A-League head Greg O'Rourke said he was working closely 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.
Mr Tsatsimas said an investigation into those directly responsible for lighting the flares was continuing.
It is not the first time the club has had problems with its fans' behaviour.
In 2016, the FFA fined the club $50,000 and imposed a suspended deduction of three A-League points, after finding the club guilty of bringing the game into disrepute.
Wanderers were fined $20,000 last year after fans displayed an offensive banner, depicting Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold performing a sex act.