Laurence Rosen looks at today’s hot topic and how the FFA and media have handled the Flare issue from last nights Sydney Derby. Follow him on twitter @MVFCLR22
Enter the A-League. Crowds are up and the standard of play is better that ever but as it has been constant for the duration of the competition, the media’s reporting once again reared its ugly head. On a night where even the most one eyed AFL or NRL fan tuned it to see what all the fuss was about, media reports on the day preceding the Sydney Derby arguably overshadowed a momentous night for the A-League.
Over 26,000 fans packed into Allianz Stadium and with the boisterous Red and Black Bloc on one side and the ever present Cove on the other, the scene was set for a breathtaking night. As usual in a new albeit heated rivalry already, Flares were let off on both sides of the field. Whatever your stance on flares, it’s widely known that uneducated media mistake them for violence rather that evoking the passion that the fans setting them off intend. While the match ended in an entertaining 2-0 win to the new kids on the block, it was the scenes reported the following day that left a sour taste in all keen football followers mouth.
Before we delve into the unfortunate events the were to follow the Sydney Derby, lets bring up some stats to the table. We know that a mere 3 people were evicted from the stadium on Saturday night but from the crowd of 100,000 on Melbourne Cup day, 80 people were given their marching orders. Comparatively, 40 or so people were ejected from the AFL grand final. While on a per capita scale these figures seen fairly similar, the way the different sports are reported through various media channels vary greatly. As is the norm, the police issues a statement the day after the AFL grand final stating that they were pleased with the crowd behaviour. In stark contract the police issues a statement late Sunday afternoon saying “We’re not going to see here what may be seen unfortunately throughout parts of Europe and other parts of the world.” The figures from the two major events and the Sydney derby hardly differ yet the police ultimately bring up the stereotype that is planted into far too many ignorant minds in this country. With this stereotype of overseas violence marring football matches abroard, the police take an unnecessary and mildly racist stance on football followers compared to the more timid AFL fans.
Whatever your view on flares and over exuberance at football games, the reports of “Soccer violence” leading the news on a weekend where scenes abroad should have dominated the evening news reports. Ultimately, us football fans are a unique bunch and even after the NSL days and 8 seasons of the A-League we are still seeing our sport grossly misrepresented in the mainstream media. Football active support is unique in this country and as soon as a flare is triggered, it’s unfortunately a sign for the media to report our game in a negative light. The A-League has come on leaps and bounds this season and with a Sydney Derby this week and another Melbourne Derby on the horizon next week, the game has never looked better in this country. Ultimately, when the police and mainstream media finally grasp the concept of active support and report our game in the same light as others, we will know that our game has finally been understood through the non football friendly people among us.Google+