Kosmina: A-League fans have gone too far

Former Socceroo and Fox Sports pundit, John Kosmina, has accused active football supporters of holding the game to ransom following their boycott of A-League matches this weekend.

In a column for the Adelaide Advertiser, Komina said fan groups had gone too far.

Active support bays were largely empty this weekend as the campaign for greater procedural fairness for banned fans ramped up.

A number of players, coaches and club bosses have come out in support.

In the wake of widespread discontent, Football Federation Australia agreed to improve the current process which gives banned fans no recourse to appeal.

The issue hit crisis point after News Limited named and shamed 198 banned football fans.

Fans were subsequenely labelled thugs and terrorists in the media.

Kosmina said he admired the peaceful mass walk-outs by Wanderers and Victory fans last week which “galvanised” the FFA into action.

But the former Adelaide United and Sydney FC coach opposed the follow-up boycott.

“…how far are these active support groups going to take it?” he asked. “This week’s boycotting of matches has gone a step too far for me.

“Just as the PFA did in the Matildas’ pay dispute a few months ago, these groups are now holding the game to ransom to get their way.

“You now have supporter groups in conflict with the FFA, when the real beef should be with the person or persons that published the story in the first place.”

Kosmina said the FFA should have reacted more quickly to a series of anti-football fan pieces in the media but added that nearly 85% of banned fans had been pinged for “throwing flares or violent behaviour”.

“The FFA’s policy of zero tolerance in matters of this severity is correct and can’t be varied," he added.

"The process of banning a fan in itself is not a simple you would think. There are checks and balances to make sure the right person is punished for the right reasons.

“But because of the actions taken these past seven days this will all be reviewed and maybe the fans will realise a bit of self-policing might be in order.”



Well said Kossie. Some of the banned flare throwers probably are upset that they can't be the center of attention. I'm always a fan of Australian Football and I put Australian Football first. I want Australian Football to rule the world and we need the fans to support it. Without removing trouble makers, we could have a crowd situation where down the track there is a riot and that would be pounced on by the media like in the past. So FFA is doing it's job to keep people in check, which I appreciate as a spectator and Australian Football fan.

The reason for the fan boycott is the lack of respect that the FFA has shown over a number of years for the genuine concerns of the core supporters. The naming and shaming was a catalyst for action; the straw that broke the camel's back. The FFA's inept handling of the matter in the first ten days exacerbated the tensions and both S. Lowy and Gallop were missing from action in India. The core supporter groups have indicated their willingness to speak with the FFA; a sign of good faith. Now it is up to the FFA to reciprocate this faith on Wednesday night, noting that from Thursday onwards it is time for action not further talk. Can the FFA do it under the current executive leadership? A moot point after all the mistakes over the last 12 months plus. Regarding punishments they are inflexible and too harsh. The FFA needs to work with clubs and supporters to educate about the dangers of throwing flares and being aggressive. It is a medium term solution though also the most effective one to substantially lessen aggressive fan noting we are only speaking about a tiny number of persons rather than a minority, when viewed against total A-League attendances. In a nutshell compassion and deterrence need to work alongside each other; a zero tolerance approach is both knee jerk and ultimately unworkable as it makes no real effort to change behaviour.