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A-League crisis deepens as Adelaide fans resolve to walk out

Soccer

Adelaide United’s “Red Army” supporters group will stage a walkout from this weekend’s A-league fixture against Perth Glory at Coopers Stadium, as the rift between supporters and the Football Federation Australia intensifies.

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United fans will join supporters from the Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC in protesting this weekend at A-League games around the country, incensed by what they see as a major breach of faith by the FFA.

Melbourne Victory supporters walked out of last weekend’s game against Adelaide to protest the “naming and shaming” of allegedly unruly supporters in News Corp Australia newspapers, and the league’s decision to ban alleged offenders with no right of appeal.

The Red Army’s decision followed an extraordinary general meeting of the group’s committee last night that continued “into the early hours of the morning”, according to the group’s Facebook page.

“We understand there has been lots of talk and discussion across the football community and media regarding protests and possible action from supporters,” it posted this morning.

“As such, we have decided on a course of action.”

That course of action, unanimously decided, was to walk out at the 30-minute mark of the Adelaide home game.

Red Army president Zoran Milojevic told InDaily while Adelaide United supporters were perhaps less affected by the standoff with the league’s administrators, “we’re trying to defend our code, our beliefs, our passion”.

“For us to be able to do that effectively, we have to show some solidarity to our football family,” he said.

“It’s got nothing to do with the colour of your guernsey – everyone supports the sport … it’s what brings us together, it’s what binds us.”

He said a “common front” might convince the FFA to take a step towards healing the rift and “show us a bit of guidance and leadership”.

But the decision was not universally well-received among supporters, with some followers expressing their views on social media.

“Support the club, they bloody need it,” said one, referring to United’s winless start to the season.

“Sorry, but if you walk out, I won’t be supporting the Red Army any more,” wrote another.

“I agree that there should be right to appeal but please remember that there are supporters of all ages at the games and we don’t want unruly behaviour.”

The Red Army insisted it would not tolerate anti-social behaviour, and prominent member Glenn Clissold wrote that “the club and players back our position too”.

Milojevic said the fans would still amass at the beginning of Sunday’s game – which could yet be rescheduled because of forecast searing heat – because “we want to show our team that we’re 100 per cent behind them”.

“We want to welcome them onto the pitch with energy and passion, and show them that we’re for them,” he said.

This week, captain Eugene Galekovic told media the standoff between fans and the FFA was harming the game and had to be quickly resolved.

“It affects everyone … it affects the club, it affects the players, so hopefully something is sorted as soon as possible because the players and the fans are the number one stakeholders in the game,” the ABC reported him saying yesterday.

However, he said he hoped local fans would choose not to boycott because the side needed all the support it could get.

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