Australia

Life ban for racist fan

Sydney United 58 players speak to fans after the club’s Australia Cup loss. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

A life ban has been issued to a spectator who was shown on the TV broadcast of the Australia Cup doing a “fascist salute” last weekend following an investigation by Football Australia.

Sydney United 58, which lost the match at CommBank Stadium to Macarthur FC, was issued a show cause notice after the behaviour of the fans drew heavy criticism.

The disgraceful and racist behaviour included Nazi salutes, chanting and jeering during the Welcome to Country, and the singing of Za Dom Spremni, which was used by the fascist Ustase movement in Croatia in the 1930s and 1940s.

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On Wednesday FA confirmed one spectator would be banned from attending Football Australia-sanctioned football matches including all NPL, A-Leagues, Australia Cup, and National Team matches for life.

The ban is effective immediately.

“Football Australia adopts a zero-tolerance policy to disrespectful and offensive behaviour at sanctioned events and will not tolerate behaviour that has the potential to offend, insult humiliate, disparage or vilify spectators, players or officials,” an FA statement said.

“Football Australia is continuing to collaborate with relevant stakeholders and law enforcement in identifying other individuals who may have committed similar anti-social behaviour at the Australia Cup 2022 Final.

“Football Australia is committed to promoting a safe and enjoyable environment for all Australians engaging with football, where the rights, dignity, and worth of every person are properly respected.

Sydney United 58 escaped sanction despite being in danger of being hit with penalties.

In a statement, the Sydney United 58 board said the club had “zero tolerance towards any form of disrespect, racism or discrimination”.

“The club strongly condemns any behaviour that does not reflect the wider views of the club and its loyal supporters,” the statement said.

“It is also encouraging to see the wider football community denounce this on social media.

“The club is deeply committed to creating an environment that is respectful and inclusive, which also allows our community members to celebrate their heritage in a meaningful and responsible way.”

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on Monday said the offending fans should be banned for life.

“It was absolutely horrendous,” Perrottet said.

“It has no place, not just at sporting games, but anywhere in our state, and I know the police are looking at it.”

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