Football 2 years ago

FFA ban appeals process medieval: The Cove

  • FFA ban appeals process medieval: The Cove

Sydney FC's active supporter group has branded as "medieval" FFA's proposed model for a stadium ban appeals process, arguing it places unfair onus on fans to prove their innocence.

Following a week of mass fan outrage and match walkouts against FFA's perceived lack of support and transparency over the issue, the governing body on Sunday broke its near-silence and pledged to install a proper avenue of appeal for spectators who feel they've been unjustly banned.

But the peace offering was not popular with Sydney FC's supporter group The Cove, with spokesman Grant Muir labelling it better than nothing but not good enough because it demands that fans find new evidence to clear their names.

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"Do you know how long it's been since that approach was considered the right thing to do?" Muir told AAP.

"In medieval times, at the same time when trial by ordeal and trial by combat were considered cutting-edge judicial processes.

"It's a massive issue, because people can't expect to defend themselves without understanding the evidence against them. And they're being expected to prove their innocence.

"If somebody is thrown out of the stadium for swearing and banned, how do they prove that they didn't do it?"

The Cove's leadership group met with FFA last week to seek clarity on what head of A-League Damien de Bohun had claimed was an informal, pre-existing review process for those who'd been banned.

It came after the fallout from News Corp Australia's "naming and shaming" of 198 people banned from A-League venues.

But Muir remained sceptical.

"We did that (met with the FFA), and now everybody can see that even if it (a review process) does exist - which I doubt - it's utterly dysfunctional and doesn't meet even the most basic requirements for the problem it's supposed to solve," he said.

The Cove will hold more talks this week with NSW Police, FFA and the SCG Trust in an attempt to rebuild trust and alter their view of active fans.

The group, which opted to unfurl banners instead of stage a mid-match walkout like that of Western Sydney's Red and Black Bloc (RBB) and Melbourne Victory's North Terrace, will on Tuesday meet with representatives from the SCG Trust's board to seek confirmation that it will investigate where the leak of the banned list came from.

They will also communicate concerns about how one of their members, radio broadcaster Alan Jones, likened arrests at A-League games to the recent terrorism attacks in Paris.

On Wednesday The Cove will take to task senior NSW police officers likely including assistant commissioner Kyle Stewart, who was quoted in News Corp's article likening some fans to "grubby pack animals".

Muir also took issue with commissioner Andrew Scipione's remark that Australia could end up "putting rival fans in cages like the UK model".

"We're not trying to be confrontational with these guys, we're trying to point out that everybody involved in this needs to understand each other and solve the problems that exist," Muir said.

"There needs to be a perception change and it happens at the top."

In a letter to members last week, Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas signalled his club will also meet with Stewart this week to try to "create a more harmonious working relationship".

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