Wanderers resist police crackdown on fans

Western Sydney Wanderers have issued their strongest statement yet that they will not support the over-policing of fans at Pirtek Stadium.

The Club’s CEO John Tsatsimas penned an open letter to supporters following media reports that police were ramping up restrictions on the club's active support, the Red and Black Bloc.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the traditional march to the game was under threat.

Police were also looking to prevent the display of provocative banners, as well as zero tolerance for swearing and the prohibition of jumping shoulder to shoulder during chants.

If passed the restrictions would represent the most strident and sweeping attack on active support seen in the country.

A flare go for A-League fans?

The Wanderers confirmed  they had received correspondence from police with a list of proposed implementations on match days. 

Tsatsimas said: “While the club will never tolerate flares or any form of anti-social behaviour, the club has opposed the severity of the proposals and what we believe is excessive and we feel compromises the enjoyable football experience.

He added: “The integral elements of active support will not be compromised and we will do everything within our means to ensure that the atmosphere of the Wanderers that we have come to know and love remains central to our purpose.

“The Western Sydney Wanderers will always advocate for an authentic football experience (and) a positive impact by the active supporter area which has formed an integral part of the fabric of the club and has contributed to the success of the Wanderers since its inception.

“The club will continue to maintain this position.”

The recent issue of FourFourTwo highlights the system of saturation policing at Wanderers games.

Mother of three, Megan Atkins, who along with her whole is a member of the RBB said: “At no other sporting event I have been to in Australia, in England – and I’ve been to soccer games in England, rugby and cricket – I’ve never seen a police presence like it.”

The Western Sydney Wanderers since the end of last season has attempted to mediate the relationship between NSW Police and our active supporter group, the RBB.
Tsatsimas said: “For the past five months we have met with the Police and nominated representatives of the RBB in attempts to arrive at a position that will maintain the atmosphere and enjoyment for all members.”

The Red and Black Bloc issued a statement on their Facebook page saying they would not accept the restrictions.

The supporter group said they were told breaching the conditions could result in the game being delayed and that “cost recovery of all police and OSG required to manage the event will apply to Pirtek Stadium and WSW”.

The RBB responded: “This is an ongoing battle. We will not go away.”

The police hard-line comes after comments to FourFourTwo by NSW Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke that there were "very few problems across the A-League".