SYDNEY, Australia, Feb 22 – Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday banned 14 supporters for 18 months for displaying a lewd banner during last weekend’s A-League derby with Sydney FC.
Wanderers said they would ban the 14, from the notorious Red & Black Bloc (RBB) fan group, across all competitions after the banner was hoisted on Saturday.
The move comes after Football Federation Australia this week hit the Wanderers with a show-cause notice, calling the banner “offensive to any reasonable member of the public”.
The governing body is expected to come down hard on the club, which has already been in trouble over incidents involving flares and other anti-social activities.
There has been outrage in the football community and media over the explicit banner of a man resembling Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold performing oral sex.
The Wanderers took action after reviewing CCTV footage from before and during the 1-0 derby win and identifying fans who took part in concealing, assembling and displaying the banner.
“Following a thorough review of the incident on Saturday night we have acted to remove them from our club,” Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said in a statement.
“This incident involved key leaders of the RBB who have shown no remorse for their actions of bringing our club and the game of football into disrepute and have continued to flaunt their disdain for the club… on social media.
“As a club we have had enough and have put the entire group on notice.
“While the vast majority of the RBB are exceptional in their support and actions for this club we must remove all those who see themselves as bigger than the club they support.”
The Wanderers said the banned spectators will also have to undergo a social inclusion programme before their suspensions can be lifted.