The FFA has announced several changes to its banning process, including an appeals process for banned fans.
The updated banning process contain four major changes.
- FFA has introduced a “Notice of Intention to Ban” process, giving persons facing a ban the opportunity to make a submission and provide evidence to FFA for consideration before FFA makes its decision to impose a ban.
- As part of the new procedure, FFA will provide access to evidence that it is legally allowed to disclose to the person. Where it is unable to provide access to the evidence FFA will provide a description and the legal impediment will be identified. FFA will continue to work with police, venues and other third parties to break down the legal barriers that exist to providing access. This may include the ability to disclose evidence to a qualified legal practitioner with appropriate undertakings.
- FFA has introduced the right for banned persons to appeal FFA’s decision to issue a ban to a three-person Football Independent Banning Appeals Committee (FIBAC) consisting of a pool of 12 prominent barristers and legal practitioners. It will be chaired by His Honour Judge Rauf Soulio of the District Court of South Australia, who is the former chairman of the Australian Multicultural Council, an arbitrator in the international Court of Arbitration for Sport and retiring President of Football Federation South Australia.
- The 198 persons who are currently banned, will be able to apply to have their case reviewed by the FIBAC if they dispute that they engaged in the conduct for which they were banned.
“We were determined not to make a knee-jerk response to this complex issue,” FFA Chairman Steven Lowy said.
“Extensive consultations were held with stakeholders, including fan groups, clubs, State Federations, stadium managers and State police forces.
“The result will provide a more comprehensive process to those facing bans because of anti-social behaviour and delivers on the commitment made by FFA in its meeting with fan groups in December last year.
“At the same time it underscores the paramount duty of FFA to provide a safe environment for all true football fans and maintains our policy of zero tolerance for anti-social behaviour.”
FFA CEO David Gallop said that a Flare Management System has also been discussed, but not yet finalised.
“The last week has highlighted that the small number of troublemakers who discharge flares and associated devices, and those who are accessories to that behaviour, pose a threat to safety and our goal to grow the game,” Gallop said. “FFA, clubs and true football fans have been united in their disdain.
“FFA is committed to ridding the game of these people who masquerade as fans while lighting flares and other devices. We will also be implementing a national campaign that will clearly illustrate the danger flares pose to people at football matches and will consider penalties for clubs whose fans take part in this illegal behaviour.”