Lowy to meet with boycotting fans

Football Federation Chairman Steven Lowy will meet with fans on Wednesday night in a bid to head off another damaging round of boycotts.

Gate numbers tumbled at games across the A-League as active supporters continued their protest which began with mass walkouts the weekend before.

The crisis was sparked by the naming and shaming of 198 banned supporters on a list leaked to News Limited.

But FFA's slow response and half-hearted gestures towards a fair appeals process for banned fans saw the problem escalate. 

Lowy promised a frank discussion with fan representatives of all 10 A-League clubs on a range of topics that have opened a chasm between FFA and their key stakeholders.

"At the end of the day, we're all here to love football, watch football, and the FFA will do everything it can, in consultation with all of the stakeholders, to find a resolution,” Lowy told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We have to resolve it. They have to resolve it. We want to resolve it. We're working tirelessly to resolve it.”

Sydney FC supporter group the Cove tweeted that a third party was involved in bringing the parties together for a potential ceasefire - believed to be former Socceroo and Fox Sports pundit Mark Bosnich

Lowy said FFA chief David Gallop, whose first media conference on the issue opened up new fault lines, was “laser-focused on resolving this issue".

He said “the game is not the same" without active fans, describing them as  "a very important part of the game".

Crowd numbers plummeted in Gosford, Sydney and Adelaide on the weekend as fans upped the ante. Just as damaging were the televised scenes of empty bays.

Lowy, who only recently took over the reins from his father Franks, said he was committed to “sustain and grow the game”.

"There are clearly lots of issues,” he said. “All codes have issues, not just football. It feels at the moment as though football has all the issues and is being kicked around a little bit but no doubt we will address them. We're strong, we're firm, we believe we can work with all of the stakeholders and we will all do that."

He added: "Clearly, we are here for the fans. I know there's been some discussion that maybe we haven't stood up for the fans enough. But as I said on Thursday, nothing could be further from the truth.

The aim is to get active fans back in the support bays next week, although the chairman conceded resolving all the issues would take longer.

"We will do everything we can, within the respect of that process, to see if we can deal with that issue fairly swiftly and get the fans back to the game because that's what we're all about," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We're listening to that and we will be meeting with them – and not just this week. We'll meet as much as we have to resolve this issue."

Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City crowd: 4514

Previous Mariners home game: 10,519

Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets crowd: 9155

Previous Sydney FC home game: 9253

Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory crowd: 10,852 (QBE Stadium in Auckland)

Previous home game: 13,654

Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar crowd: 9680

Previous home game: 14,426

FC Adelaide United v Perth Glory crowd: 6205

Previous home game: 10,048

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