FFA CEO David Gallop said he was pleased in-principle agreement to changes to the fan-banning process had been reached with representatives of A-League fan groups.
After a four-hour meeting at an undisclosed location in Sydney’s CBD on Wednesday night, the FFA and the fan groups reached in-principle agreement to two changes to the process of banning spectators.
Those proposals agreed on, which FFA brought to the table, involve the change of banning notices to become “intention to ban” notices, as well as fans then having an opportunity to view evidence being relied on for any proposed ban.
“We had a significant meeting with representatives of all 10 clubs’ active supporter groups and I’m pleased to say we reached in-principle agreement on a couple of changes to the banning process and they [the fan groups] endorsed those changes,” Gallop told reporters at a late-night press conference.
“There was a general good understanding of each other’s positions, some robust debate of course.
“I think it was productive. There were some strong feelings and we’ve listened to that and made some changes to the process but maintained the integrity of the process as well.
“And if the ban is to be maintained they’ll still have an opportunity to appeal the ban to an independent panel at a later date,” said Gallop.
The meeting was MC’d by Fox Sports’ Adam Peacock with former Socceroo and Fox Sports analyst Mark Bosnich also in attendance.
Head of the Hyundai A-League Damien De Bohun was also at the meeting with Gallop and FFA Head of Corporate Communication Kyle Patterson.
Gallop admitted there were a few areas of the agreement that were still to be fine-tuned, conceding there needs to be a more “thorough” review of the entire system.
“That will happen in the lead-up to the February [FFA] board meeting. And some of these changes will be implemented then, but importantly tonight we agreed in principle to these two changes to the process.
“This review will give us the opportunity to look at other issues around match day security.”
For retrospective bans to the current 198 fans on the banned list, Gallop added: “We’ve certainly said where the evidence still exists we’ll give anyone who wants to come forward that opportunity.”
As for the boycott by fans of A-League games, Gallop noted it was a matter for the fans themselves.
“But we’d love to see them back at the football. We’ve said from the start that they provide a wonderful atmosphere and we’d like to see them in the terraces. I’m hopeful they’ll be there.
“I’m very ambitious and confident about the game’s future. And they accept that.
“We all shook hands [at the end of the meeting] and I think a few of them [the fans] went off for a drink,” added Gallop.
It’s expected the fans will make a statement regarding the meeting on Thursday morning.