If you read social media today, you will see many fans crying and moaning about the implementation of new trial measures by Football Federation Australia for the active support areas for matches involving Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wandererers (for both their home and away matches.
The statement reads as follows:
FFA announces measures for active supporter areasMonday, 3 February 2014 3:30 PM
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has announced trial measures for active supporter areas at matches involving the Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers for the remainder of the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League regular season.
Under the measures, only club members will be entitled to purchase tickets into active supporter areas. Each member will be entitled to purchase one ticket for their own use. The measures will apply to home and away matches.
The trial will commence for this weekend’s Round 18 matches. Additional measures to ensure the safe conduct of A-League matches will be in place in accordance with the risk profile of the match, including increased bag checks.
The measures are part of FFA’s response to the incidents in Melbourne on 28 December 2013.
Head of Hyundai A-League, Damien de Bohun, said the trial for the remainder of the season was put in place following one-off measures for the rescheduled Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers match at AAMI Park, Melbourne, on 14 January.
“The measures worked smoothly and ensured the active supporter areas were reserved for members who represented their clubs as genuine fans should,” said de Bohun.
“The trial is squarely aimed at preventing troublemakers using the active areas to engage in anti-social behaviour that affects the enjoyment of others and damages the reputation of the club and game.
“FFA has worked closely with state police forces, security contractors and stadium managers on a range of security measures. We are all absolutely determined to make sure an A-League experience has a unique atmosphere in a family-friendly environment.”
Now, many have said that this is a terrible idea because it will crush active support for these two clubs – two clubs with the most vibrant active support groups in the league.
However, I struggle to see how identification of people in those areas will lead to destruction of the active support. No-one has made the link between the two.
I used to work for an A-League club and I tried to implement a member’s only active support area. It was decided that this was not the approach the club wanted to go – it is not one of the clubs listed in this article. I hope that they (and other clubs) will reconsider this approach.
Some arguments will be the following:
- I don’t want to give the club my details so they can send me all their marketing stuff – these days, the clubs are required by law to send you only what you want and it is easy enough to remove yourself from these marketing lists online.
- I cannot afford to go to every game – the clubs usually have a membership package designed just for that so people can go to a few games each year. This is something that each club will need to investigate further with their ticketing agencies.
- I want to bring my friends to the games every now and then so I can introduce them to the game – as far as I am concerned on this one, this is an area that the clubs need to work on so they can create a database of guests and who brought them into the game. This is good for everyone – the football club can encourage new people to get to future games by making special offers to them, police and security know who is entering the active security area; and members are confident that their friends will behave themselves.
- I don’t want the police/security/the FFA/the football club/Hatamoto/whoever to have my details – get over yourself!! You have been giving your details out left, right and centre to every other organisation; there are enough companies and government bodies with your contact details that the police can get their hands on anyway. For fuck sakes, you need to get real – we, as a nation, have been handing out our personal and financial information for years.
- I don’t want to be blamed for something I didn’t do – Ahhh, this one. This is an easy one to solve. If you see shit going down near you, stop it! That way, the cameras will show you stopping it from kicking off and you’ll be a hero in the eyes of the cops and security. If you don’t cause trouble and ensure that trouble doesn’t start near you, then you have nothing to worry about.
- I don’t want to dob in my mates for what they do in the ground – That excuse does not fly anymore. While the media continues to circle around the sport like a hawk, waiting for any slip up in supporter behaviour; it is not good enough to no longer dob-in a mate. It is well known that several supporter groups around the league have a “no dobbing” policy and that needs to change.
- This doesn’t happen anywhere else – Well, most English Premier League clubs are season ticket holders throughout most of the ground. It would not surprise me if big clubs all over the world operate member ticket only sections throughout major sections of their stadiums, including their active support areas.
I hope that this is part of a broader policy of the FFA, including the docking of points, which has been threatened of both Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers.
I know this will cause a lot of controversy, but fuck it, I’m a big man. Leave your comments below.