Western Sydney Wanderers hoping to escape sanction but want unruly fans gone

Western Sydney Wanderers hoping to escape sanction but want unruly fans gone

While the Western Sydney Wanderers will plead their case to Football Federation Australia to avoid heavy sanctions for last Saturday's unruly crowd behaviour, the club is determined to stamp out those fans who continue to tarnish their image.

The Wanderers have until 5pm on Wendesday to respond to a show-cause notice issued by the FFA on Monday, which threatened the loss of points and substantial fines, leading to intense attention on the behaviour of the certain fans, who interrupted the 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory with flares and detonators.

Having issued a thundering denouncement of those fans the next day, Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said their submission to the FFA would be about protecting the club and law-abiding supporters, rather than defending undesirable elements.

The Wanderers are top of the league on goal difference. A points deduction could threaten a top-two position heading into the finals.

Rogue elements: Wanderers boss John Tsatsimas says troublemakers aren't formally linked to the club.

Rogue elements: Wanderers boss John Tsatsimas says troublemakers aren't formally linked to the club.

Photo: Getty Images

"We owe a strong submission on behalf of the fans who support the team relentlessly during the course of the year, we owe it to the players that do so well on the pitch, the coaching staff, administration and board, who all do the right thing," he told Fairfax Media.

"Who we're not doing it on behalf of are the people who continually seek to undermine this club, this game and our reputation. They don't care about the club. They care only about themselves."

Tsatsimas said the rebel fans had proven particularly elusive and nearly impossible to police because of their loose structure and lack of affiliations.

"They're not members, they're not part of the RBB [Red and Black Bloc], they're not supporters of the club and it's why the police and security have such a hard time," Tsatsimas said.

"But it's incumbent on us to do everything we can to preserve the integrity of the club on match day, irrespective of some renegade, rogue elements who choose to spoil the occasion with their narcissism."

Little if any trouble has been seen at Wanderers' matches at Pirtek Stadium this season, with the only conflict seemingly unfolding when the club partakes in matches against Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.

This Sunday's match between the Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix has no history of crowd trouble.

But it will see a significant surge in police and security numbers, which the club has to pay for, an amount Tsatsimas described as "significant".

However, after that comes the third and final Sydney derby, to be played at Allianz Stadium on February 20.

It is the match which attracts the largest number of travelling Wanderers fans and tickets are available to non-members – the patrons identified as the ones causing trouble.

Tsatsimas said he could only hope the behaviour of fans was of a much higher standard than that displayed in Melbourne.

"We went to Melbourne with every confidence there wouldn't be a problem but the truth is, we're at the behest of the decisions these people are making. In a crowd of 40,000, all it takes is a few people to turn a great event into something that will get the headlines for all the wrong reasons."

A spokesman from NSW Police said they were weighing up how best to manage the derby crowd and whether they would bolster their already-significant number of officers

Sebastian Hassett

Sebastian Hassett is a football reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.

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