Sage insists clubs should follow Glory's lead to get rid of trouble makers

Perth chief Tony Sage believes fellow A-League clubs could follow Glory’s lead by weeding out fans who rip flares – and banning them indefinitely.


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Sage clams unilateral action against several ringleaders of the club's one-time flare fraternity caused Glory to shed around 200 supporters, once several ring-leaders were shown the door from nib Stadium in a purge on “rabble rousers”.

While Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers are the main focus of the competition’s latest flare furore after the recent high profile incidents, Glory felt the heat last April when, a week after the club were kicked out of the A-League finals for salary cap breaches, a 13-year-old boy was burned by a flare in the 3-0 home loss to Sydney FC.

As a result of the incident which saw two teenagers arrested, Glory acted swiftly, in conjunction with nib stadium operator VenuesWest and in accordance with FFA edicts.

Sage sees his club's stance 10 months ago as a possible road map for other clubs to follow.

“We made the tough decisions last season when we banned the ringleaders of a group of 200 or so who used to sit opposite the Shed end - they were letting off flares regularly and we had to do something about it,” Sage said.

“A boy got second degree burns and we had to take action. We got rid of the ringleaders and the rest of them did not come back also.

“But we were happy to pay that price to make sure we maintain a family friendly atmosphere and keep these idiots away from the game.

“We lost fans because of it but this is something clubs can do if they can identify who’s these people are, and then act accordingly.

“Flares are not wanted in Australia and clubs really do have to take some responsibility, as do the operators of the stadiums,which in our case are state government controlled.

"Maybe what we did should be followed by others."

With Glory in the midst of reviewing on-going bans currently applying to 21 supporters in the light of the newly-released FFA appeals process, Sage queried how trouble makers are able to smuggle pyrotechnics in to grounds.

“I’d like to know how they get these things in .. we don’t sell them at the concession stands," he said.

“It’s their job to secure the grounds and that needs to be looked at also. It’s not up to the clubs to police that side of things. That’s down to stadium security.

“That’s when you feel sorry for clubs that so many of these flares are somehow getting into grounds."

Wanderers were fined $50,000 and hit with a suspended three-point penalty after flares were ignited during their clash against Victory 10 days ago, with Victory handed a show cause notice by FFA after more flares were lit in at weekend’s Melbourne derby.

But Sage has reservations over points deductions.

“FFA smashed us with a big deduction of points (to make sure Glory missed last season’s playoffs) after the salary cap scandal, which is something I'm still not happy about," he said.

“These points penalties do hurt the fans, players and clubs and there are other ways of going about it.

“I have to reiterate it’s not really the clubs’ full responsibility because we don’t have control of the stadium security."

Glory has been at the vanguard of vigilance in keeping out unruly elements, and the club’s players and coach Kenny Lowe visited the boy burned last year - he and his family continue to attend games.

“We don’t have these issues any more, fingers crossed, at Glory but it just takes one idiot to do it and you are left confronting these issues again," Sage said.  

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4 min read
Published 16 February 2016 at 6:24pm
By David Lewis