A Football Federation Australia (FFA) representative has reportedly claimed that the governing body do have an appeals process in place for banned individuals.
The Sydney FC active supporters group, The Cove, along with Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata met with an FFA representative on Wednesday night to discuss a number of problems plaguing Australian football.
One of those high on the agenda was the lack of appeal process for fans who have been handed bans from attending A-League matches.
However, according to a statement released by The Cove on Thursday, the FFA representative present at the meeting confirmed that the body indeed do have an appeals process in place.
"We asked why those facing a ban were not contacted and shown the basis for the decision, and were told it was because the FFA only issues bans when they are certain that they have the correct party," the statement read.
"We stated that there had been many reported instances over the past 10 years across all active supporter groups, where people claimed to have been incorrectly identified. These people were simply served a banning notice, given little information about the basis of their ban, and provided no process for appeal. The FFA reiterated their confidence in their process.
"We then asked the FFA why there was no appeals process, and were told that there is an appeals process.
"We questioned the validity of this statement given the banning orders that we have seen of our own supporters (and those of other active supporter groups) contain no information on this process or even contact information for the FFA to further discuss the notice.
"We then asked the FFA to provide details as to how fans could appeal their bans, we were told the following: “Anyone who feels that they have been unjustly banned can present evidence to their club who will, if the evidence is convincing, appeal on behalf of the fan.”
"We then pointed out that if there indeed was a process no-one was aware of it, including apparently the clubs themselves – confirmed by Tony Pignata and through the statements of CEO’s John Tsatimas (Western Sydney Wanderers) and Ian Robson (Melbourne Victory).
"We requested on behalf of all supporters that this process be publicly documented and present on all banning orders going forward.
"Lastly we mentioned that Hatamoto had a vested interest in there being issues so as to justify their presence at games."
FFA have since released a statement in response to clarify their banning process, confirming their is in fact a means of appeal despite other reports suggesting against it.
"FFA takes its responsibility to provide a safe and enjoyable environment at games very seriously and would like to clarify some of the processes around spectator safety and behaviour. This process is designed and enforced to protect the safety and enjoyment of one of our most important stakeholder groups, the fans," the statement read.
"FFA does not ban spectators lightly but, like any host venue including sporting stadiums and hotels, will refuse entry to persons where we are not satisfied that they will respect the safety and enjoyment of other patrons.
Before issuing a Banned Notice, an FFA security committee reviews credible information provided by law enforcement, stadium security, FFA’s security consultants and clubs. This information includes CCTV, photos and other forms of evidence.
"The length of each ban reflects the seriousness of the conduct and the risk that it poses to the safety and welfare of our fans, and reinforces our message that we don’t tolerate anti-social behaviour.
"Once we have determined a ban should be imposed in the interests of the safety of fans attending our games, our legal responsibilities require the bans to come into effect immediately.
"Since the inception of the Banning Process, it has always been the case that if a banned person can prove that they did not engage in the relevant behaviour the ban will not apply. If a banned person can bring the evidence that proves this to FFA through their club, the ban will be lifted."1 comment