A-League Media Hypocrisy

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.

About David Hards (495 Articles)
The Founder of FTSAUS. A foundation Melbourne City man who is more than willing to voice his opinion, no matter how wrong it could be. An average goalkeeper or makeshift right back who had more bad days than good on the pitch, but still loved every minute of it. Follow on Twitter: @Hardsy05
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  • Anonymous Football Fan – QLD

    Absolute bollocks, when i was a young lad i used to go and watch Rugby games with my dad and i used to always see fights amongst the crowd and on the field and 99% of the fans would urge them on, and as a young kid it would absolutly frighten the hell out of me. When i went to my first Football match i had never felt more safe in my life, all the fans singing as one, even when a flare was let off i knew it was nothing bad, it just got the crowd more excited. Just because people use Flares and whatnot doesn’t mean it’s ‘SOCCER HOOLIGANISM’ it’s called passion. I understand flares are illegal and everything but the sport shouldn’t be hit so hardly when someone lights one, it’s passion, nothing bad at all.

  • LolAtmosphere

    One of the people evicted was a Sydney FC fan who got drunk and started chanting in a non-active section and refused to sit down. Hardly a hooligan. It’s similar to the usual tales of drunk idiots at the cricket getting ejected for being abusive.

  • robyn

    Hi there,

    Well said i was at that wonderful game in the middle of the rbb and i had a ball, cant wait for next game. These bunch of passionate supporters are so misinterpreted by main stream media so much.

    I am a sixty year old lady who on my observations flares and the support these people show is so passionate people don’t know how to handle them so they write stuff that in some eyes are sensationalized and misleading to the point where i as a fan am so angry and disappointed.

    Flares are not a form of violence and hooliganism they are a way of passion to be brought out and no one gets hurt. if you continued some of the footage that is floating around you would hear the cheers that was made every time one was lit on Saturday night.I was right in the middle along with other older people and children and at no time did anyone get hurt or frightened. As for the chairs, the one I was sitting or rather standing on was broken before the game so maybe you should take a look at other chairs too before you start accusing people of breaking them.

    As for thy rbb, I have never met or witnessed a better bunch of young men. I am asked all the time if I am ok and some even get drinks for me, also on Saturday night I witnessed on more than one occasion some young members of rbb bringing older people to security and asking them to show them to other seats, this is not the actions of youth who are not concerned about others safety. There where no fights that I saw just a more established club who had their colours lowered by new kids on the block , that is on the field and in the stands. They where outplayed and out chanted and some parts of their support and the media don’t know how to handle that.

    I will continue to go to Wanderers matches and I hope the passion of these supporters never dies.

  • Common sense

    This opinion piece basically explains how stupid it is to light these flares.
    You have basically emphasized the point that yes… the media WILL jump all over and make generalisations about such acts. So KNOWING this, knowing it would put the / our game into disrepute, WHY DO IT!?
    Doesnt sound like passionate football supporters to me.
    This of course putting aside how many injuries flares cause in Europe & Sth America due to ‘passion’ and the stupidity of actually throwing flares ONTO the field…
    Be passionate, but dont be dumb.

  • Nermin Bajric

    It’s a pity that this country does not understand football support like the RBB and Melbourne Victory fan base is attempting to present.

    Perfectly said Robyn.

  • Matt

    I am one of the biggest A league fans you will ever I watch every game every weekend I attended 99% of MVFC matches and regularly encourage other to come to a match and give the A league a chance and for me Flares don’t bother me one bit but for other new people to the game children and parents flares can be scary and in a way ruin someones experience of an a league match something in which we don’t want, letting flares of just will continue to give the media fuel to talk about the a league in a negative way so in my opinion whilst flares may add to the atmosphere of the crowd they are not needed a football matches and are in a small way holding back potential fans from attending, and about the media in this country I have almost had enough of 5 minutes of cricket and AFL on the news and no mention of an a league match except if (a) this was crowd violence and flares or (b) it’s a derby in which it will be mentioned for 1 minute tops all I want is the media to give us a fair go

  • At the Man United vs Sunderland game this weekend at Old Trafford the thousands of travelling away fans were praised for their amazing support of the team, despite being completely outclassed on the field, beaten 3-1. Throughout the game and particularly in the last 15 they sang and cheered louder than United, probably not even watching their players fail miserably on the pitch, but cheering them in the stands.

    So, I’m confused by the constant defence of flares as ‘showing passion’. I don’t see them as dangerous and completely agree the media is blowing crowd trouble in the A-League out of proportion. But! Flares are more useless than anything else.

    Granted, I have only been to one A-League game, the derby between Adelaide and Victory and was encouraged by the decent atmosphere. However, to me the flares were a cliche that detracted from any genuine feeling of passion that the Reds crowd tried to create. It came from a very small section of vocal fans, who competed for attention with the clearly larger and more established supporters club/group.

    Obviously a relatively new league needs to promote it’s passion but the use of flares as a way of creating that image is cliche, plays into a completely overused and boring media stereo-type and makes the genuine passion of many new and old A-League fans seem false, copied and a bit try-hard.

    The FFA are right, flares are bad for the games image, not because they might start a fire and burn down and entire A-League stadium, but because it’s fake passion. The A-League needs and wants to show it really has football loving fans.

    Read about my A-League experience here

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  • Sebastian

    As a fan of the sport regardless of the team I support I can see the hot topic is mostly about flares and the image that accompanies them. The main stream media is against them and of corse utalises the image atacheted as an easy target to pinpoint and insite racesim onto the common viewer of any free to air network. In this case labeling the west as a bunch of violent, rowdy and misbehaved supporters. If there is evedently more to say that the fans are of a good and friendly nature regardless of comparing statistics of vilont occurences in events from other sporting codes. The image will change. If the overall behavour has always been at a satisfactory level. At its most minimum. Eventually no matter how many flares or smoke bombs are set off all that will be seen and proven without a doubt that it’s just a bunch of extramly passionate, proud and extravagant group of people who unite in song for what is more then the duration of the actual game itself to find a sense of community amoungst the array of diversity coming from these specific areas targeted. What els can induce passion so great that race and social class is compleatly overlooked and a unity made. A bond so strong that whatever happends or song sung. It’s all unified in perfect synchronization. Not to mention the euphoria when the ball finds the back of the net