Feature

Active A-League fans must return with their power and the passion

Now that the active supporter groups of the A-League have carried out their threat to boycott the weekend's round of matches it is time for them to come back to the fold.

Wanderers fans

Chairmen from A-League clubs will be hoping for a resolution when they meet with FFA Source: Getty Images

The fans have made their point in the strongest way but they need to know that they would lose all the sympathy they have garnered in the last fortnight if the boycott goes further.

Clubs, coaches, players, fans and the media fully sympathised with their uncompromising approach to the nasty 'name and shame file' and especially Football Federation Australia's failure to implement an adequate appeals process and defend the game when it came under attack.

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Forget about PR victories, football has done itself no favours during the past fortnight.

FFA, to their credit, have apologised for misjudging the level of anger within the football family and have promised, albeit vaguely, to change things and have a fairer banning mechanism by February.



Many stakeholders would have every reason to doubt the FFA's attitude but on this occasion skepticism needs to make way for optimism and the FFA have to be given the benefit of the doubt.

When the FFA say they will fine-tune the banning process that is immersed in legal complications they must be believed even though the level of trust between the fans and the governing body is at an all-time low.

The FFA deserve a chance to prove that they mean business ... then if they renege on their commitment to change they would be seen as taking us all for a ride and would deserve all the flak they get.

One thing is certain. The depressing scenes of empty terraces in the last round of matches will have done nothing to enhance the game's image in Australia.



The shrinking mafia of football-haters in this country would have been doing cartwheels after seeing what mayhem their vicious attacks on the game have precipitated.

Active fans in Gosford, Sydney and Adelaide took the unprecedented step of snubbing their clubs in their quest to have their collective voice heard.

The crowd figures for Round 9 make uncomfortable reading: Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City 4514; Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets 9155; Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar 9860; Adelaide United v Perth Glory 6205.

The largest crowd of the round - 10,812 - was in Auckland for Wellington Phoenix's clash with Melbourne Victory.

Representatives from active supporter groups will meet with the FFA in Sydney on Wednesday.



Even the fact that the meeting is actually taking place shows encouraging signs that those at head office are prepared to listen to all their constituents.

One hopes that common sense will prevail and the supporter groups will do the right thing, take the FFA's word and work with the governing body to find a solution to the impasse that at one stage looked like turning into a fully blown crisis.

The fans would then be able to concentrate on helping weed out the trouble-makers that continue to damage our game.

It is the delinquents, let us not forget, who are the cause of all the spleen vented at our game.

And if the idiots out there behave in a civilised manner, or better still go away from our game, the haters would have nothing to whinge about.

Now that they have decided to sit down and talk, the FFA and the fan groups must be prepared to compromise for the good of the league and the game in general.
What must not be negotiable, however, is another round of misguided boycotts.

If the active fans go into passive mode and take action for a second consecutive weekend they would incur the wrath of the football community.

They would hurt the league very badly and no way would the clubs, coaches, players and media continue to support them.

Not to mention their fellow fans at large.


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4 min read
Published 7 December 2015 at 9:34am
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS