UPDATE: WESTERN Sydney’s bid to crack down on the hooligan fringe in their active fans’ group may not be enough to save the club from further punishment, with FFA reviewing further sanctions for the flares let off in the derby.
A-League boss Greg O’Rourke has sent the Wanderers a “show cause” letter over the two flares let off at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, with further consequences dependent on the club’s response.
It comes just hours after the Wanderers cracked down hard on the RBB, closing their active area for Sunday’s game against Perth and warning of an indefinite ban if there is any repeat.
Though the suspended points penalty hanging over the club last season has expired, FFA may decide to renew such a suspended penalty, levy a fine or simply put the club on notice that it will suffer the consequences of any repeat.
In a letter to members sent today in a bid to mitigate the damage, Western Sydney CEO John Tsatsimas said that “a small group have made this action unavoidable” after two flares were lit in the minutes after the Wanderers took the lead on Sunday at Allianz Stadium.
The RBB also held up a series of banners criticising Football Federation Australia, as the longstanding antipathy between the fans’ group and the governing body re-emerged.
Tsatsimas warned the RB that any further misbehavior would lead to a long-term ban, in a move that is likely to bring to a head longstanding tensions between the RBB and the club.
“The Western Sydney Wanderers maintains its position that it will not accept offensive behaviour being displayed at its matches and also will not accept the illegal use of incendiary devices,” Tsatsimas wrote.
It comes seven months after he had written to members putting the RBB on notice that its actions were damaging the club’s name, and warning that Western Sydney was prepared to shut down the group if its anti-social behaviour continued.
That followed the production of a lewd and homophobic banner aimed at Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold in the final derby of last season, for which the club eventually had to apologise.
Today’s letter has effectively put the RBB in the last-chance saloon, with the suggestion in the letter to members that any transgression will spark an indefinite ban.
“The Active Area will be reopened for the following match against Wellington Phoenix on 10 March 2018, however should there be any further breaches of the terms of admission then the club reserves the right to close down the Active Area for a further indefinite period,” Tsatsimas wrote.
Meanwhile, three Sydney FC fans who tried to enter the RBB area at Allianz Stadium towards the end of the game have been charged with offensive behaviour by police, and look certain to face significant bans from A-League games.