Western Sydney Wanderers face stripping of A-League points due to fan behaviour

A-League leaders Western Sydney Wanderers face the prospect of being stripped of competition points due to the poor behaviour of their own fans after Football Federation of Australia issued the club with a show-cause notice on Monday afternoon. 

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In a sign of the governing body's growing frustration with the frequent fan troubles associated with Wanderers' supporters, the FFA threatened to punish the club and its players with hefty sanctions including large fines and the loss of competition points. The notice was issued in response to approximately a dozen flares and other devices ignited in the 13th minute of Western Sydney's 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

In what was a co-ordinated display, numerous smoke-emitting flares and loud railway detonators were let-off simultaneously by a minority of fans situated in an area of core active supporters and suspended play for more than a minute due to the thick smoke emitted. The latest incident follows years of unruly and at times violent behaviour and the FFA now threatened to dock points from the Wanderers as well as banning spectators identified as being involved. 

Wanderers fans during the round 18 A-League match between the Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney in Melbourne on Saturday.
Wanderers fans during the round 18 A-League match between the Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney in Melbourne on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images

The Wanderers will have until 5pm on Wednesday to argue their case to the FFA or risk being fined or losing top spot on the A-League table. With assistance from Victorian police, venue security and A-League clubs, a report into the incident was concluded on Monday and puts the club's position at the top of the A-League table at risk. 

"FFA has received detailed reports from all stakeholders and has asked the Western Sydney Wanderers to show cause why they should not face sanctions for the behaviour of a group of fans on Saturday night," FFA chief executive David Gallop said.


It's understood the ignition of flares, detonators and other devices was compounded by the general behaviour of the supporters that was threatening and intimidating to others nearby. That behaviour was strong criticised by Gallop.

"This behaviour has clearly alarmed many people inside and outside the game. It simply cannot be tolerated," he said.

The timing of the incident occurred at a delicate moment for the FFA's relationship with fans as fairer measures for banning notices are set to be introduced as early as February 15. While the latest behavioural problems of Western Sydney Wanderers supporters are understood not to impact the amended procedures, sources suggest it has eroded the good will established between supporters and the FFA during meetings in December. 

That meeting ended the fan boycott in protest of the FFA's handling of banned spectators but having committed such an offence so soon after December's resolution has undermined the relationship between of the governing body with active supporter groups. 

"It is especially disappointing that it has happened at a time when we are working collectively to implement security and banning processes to rid of our game of this type of behaviour for the benefit of football and the true football fans who are tainted by these actions. That is an unfortunate but very real consequence of this behaviour and it underlines the damage that these troublemakers cause."

Fairfax Media sought comment from Western Sydney Wanderers in response to the FFA's show-cause notice. The club declined to comment until it responds to the notice. On Sunday, the Wanderers condemned the actions of the minority of thier supporters and supported any actions taken by the FFA to rid troublemakers from the club. 

"We have noted the statements made by the Western Sydney Wanderers in relation to the misconduct and the damage the behaviour is doing to the game," Gallop said.