Life bans for fans of Sydney United 58 FC have been followed with a $15,000 fine to the club for the “deeply offensive” behaviour of supporters at last month’s controversial Football Australia Cup final.
Football Australia investigated several incidents in the stands in the with fans banned for racist behaviour which included Nazi salutes and supporters involved in a chant associated with the far-right Croatian Ustaše movement.
They also booed during the pre-match Welcome to Country ceremony.
Having already banned two fans for life as a result of their investigation, FA confirmed the fine for the club, who were runners-up to Macarthur FC in the match, as a breach of the “National Code of Conduct and Ethics” .
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark said the displays at the Australia Cup final “were some of the ugliest scenes we have seen by spectators at a football game in our country”.
“The response by Football Australia to these deplorable incidents is to be commended. We hope the sanctions issued to Sydney United will act as a warning to other clubs that racist behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated,” Mr Bark said.
In addition to the fine, Sydney United 58 has also been issued with several suspended sanctions which include further fines, significant point deductions in the NPL NSW competition and a suspended participation ban from the Australia Cup in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
These suspended sanctions will be triggered if Sydney United 58 FC fails to comply with specific requirements over the next three years which include; ongoing volunteer work with the First Nations and Jewish communities, compulsory education and training to counter racism and compulsory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency training for the Sydney United 58 FC’s board, administrators, players, support staff, volunteers, and fan group leaders.
“Football Australia has run a thorough and considered process involving listening to several different viewpoints and lived experiences. What has strongly resonated is the deep hurt and impact of the actions that do not represent the values and expectations of our game or protect our community,”Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said.
“The actions of certain groups of people were disrespectful and deeply offensive to the Indigenous Australian and Jewish communities. Through our consultation it has once again been evident the leadership role football can play in relation to societal and systemic issues like discrimination.”
“As a result, we have acted decisively in a manner which reflects our desire to strike this behaviour out of Australian football.”
“The sanctions imposed on Sydney United 58 FC reflect the seriousness with which we have viewed this situation and we believe sends a clear message that this type of behaviour, will not be tolerated.”
“Fighting hate is everyone’s responsibility. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is proud to work with Football Australia and Sydney United on programs to counter antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.
“We look forward to the club giving back to the community. As role models, it is incumbent on the players to take the lead in displaying mutual respect, understanding and acceptance on and off the field.”