Canberra FC will beef up security for its friendly match against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday night in an effort to stop “idiots” letting off flares.
Both clubs have a history of fans lighting flares. Canberra FC was docked six competition points in 2012 after fans let off flares during their Premier League grand final the previous year.
The Wanderers have had several cases of fans lighting flares in the past year, including when they played a friendly against Canberra Olympic at the Australian Institute of Sport last August. Four were lit and many more confiscated.
Up to 1500 people are expected to watch the two clubs meet at Deakin Stadium, including a small number travelling from Sydney. Spectators' bags will be searched as a condition of entry.
“We’ll have 11 official security plus 20 or 30 club officials and we hope there won’t be any trouble. There won’t be any trouble between supporters but you might get idiots bringing in flares, that’s the only concern,” Canberra FC secretary Martin Radic said.
Radic was resigned to the fact there was still potential for some anti-social behaviour.
“You can do as much as you can, but you see it all over the world, there’s strict security, but idiots always … they somehow smuggle [flares] in. We’ll obviously do bag searches at the gate and if somebody does have a flare, they’ll get ejected out of the ground,” he said.
Capital Football said it has sanctioned the event on the understanding the match operations and arrangements would be conducted in accordance with FFA regulations for A-League matches.
“If there are any issues that occur on Wednesday night, then the Canberra FC club and Western Sydney Wanderers will be subject to FFA regulations regarding sanctions and other penalties if there are flares or if there are people behaving badly,” chief executive Heather Reid said.
The Wanderers’ “Red and Black Bloc” create an entertaining atmosphere of singing and drumming, but Canberra’s Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who will be returning with Wanderers, encouraged supporters to respect the law.
"Obviously we welcome passion in support, but it's got to be done within the rules,'' Topor-Stanley said.
"The rules are the rules but we don't want to curb people's passion or enthusiasm in the stands either.''
With no advance ticket sales and bag searches at the entry, Canberra FC officials are encouraging supporters to get to the stadium early.
“The ground can take 2000 but that will be really cramped, so for security reasons, I think we’ll probably cap it at 1500,” Radic said.
“We encourage people to be early as we don’t want a rush at quarter to seven.”
Gates open at 5pm for the 7pm match.