Gallop admits: "We got it wrong”
FOOTBALL Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop has admitted he got it wrong by failing to respond adequately to a damaging newspaper article which publicly outed banned A-League fans, particularly Wanderers supporters.
The article suggested games in Australia were on track to reach hooligan levels once prevalent in Europe. The publication of a leaked document naming and shaming the 198 supporters banned from A-League venues for alleged troublesome behaviour incensed football fans around the country.
The only problem Gallop initially appeared to have with the article was the insinuation the FFA was in denial over the alleged unruly behaviour of its fans.
He received criticism from commentators including Simon Hill and Mark Bosnich, saying he had not stood up for the fans.
Gallop admitted his initial response to the article could have been stronger. "We got that wrong - we should have said more earlier," he said. "The article unfairly tarnished the vast majority of decent football people, and it tarnished the FFA saying we were in denial (of there being fan issues)."
Gallop also promised the FFA would meet disgruntled fans, and some meetings - including with Sydney FC fan group The Cove - had already occurred.
He accepted there would be mass walk-outs from frustrated fans this weekend. But he added the FFA would move quickly in reviewing its processes on how it banned fans from games, and look at the issue of an adequate appeals system.