Sydney United 58 FC sanctioned for Australia Cup Final Fan Behaviour


Football Australia has sanctioned Sydney United 58 FC under the National Code of Conduct and Ethics for incidents that occurred at the Australia Cup Final at CommBank Stadium in Sydney, between Sydney United 58 FC and Macarthur FC on Saturday, 1 October 2022.

In determining the appropriate sanction to be imposed on Sydney United 58 FC, Football Australia took into consideration a range of relevant matters, including the Club’s submissions, the nature and seriousness of the matter, the need to deter such conduct in the future and the interests of Football Australia, the Australia Cup, and the football community more broadly.

After considering the Club’s response to the Show Cause Notice, Sydney United 58 FC has been issued with a $15,000 fine. Football Australia will use the fine to further invest in education, training and materials related to anti-discrimination and cultural competency for the Australian Football community.

In addition to the above immediate sanction, Sydney United has also been issued with several suspended sanctions. These include further fines, significant point deductions in the NPL NSW competition (up to 40 points deducted per sanction) and a suspended participation ban from the Australia Cup in 2023, 2024 and 2025. These suspended sanctions will be triggered if Sydney United 58 FC fails to comply with specific requirements over the next three years. These include:

  • ongoing volunteer work with the First Nations and Jewish communities
  • compulsory education and training to counter racism, discrimination, anti-Semitic and other faith-based hatred for the Sydney United 58 FC’s Board, Executive administrators, players, support staff, volunteers, and fan group leaders
  • compulsory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency training for the Sydney United 58 FC’s Board, Executive administrators, players, support staff, volunteers, and fan group leaders
  • implementation of cultural initiatives within Sydney United 58 FC
  • prescribed standards of behaviour for Sydney United 58 FC supporters in accordance with the Code of Conduct and Ethics.

These sanctions are in addition to the several evictions on the night of the Australia Cup Final and the subsequent life bans that were issued to two identified individuals.

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson reinforced Football Australia’s zero tolerance towards disrespectful and offensive behaviour.

“Football Australia has run a thorough and considered process involving listening to several different viewpoints and lived experiences. What has strongly resonated is the deep hurt and impact of the actions that do not represent the values and expectations of our game or protect our community.”

“The actions of certain groups of people were disrespectful and deeply offensive to the Indigenous Australian and Jewish communities. Through our consultation it has once again been evident the leadership role football can play in relation to societal and systemic issues like discrimination.”

“As a result, we have acted decisively in a manner which reflects our desire to strike this behaviour out of Australian football.”

“The sanctions imposed on Sydney United 58 FC reflect the seriousness with which we have viewed this situation and we believe sends a clear message that this type of behaviour, will not be tolerated,” Johnson, concluded.

National Indigenous Advisory Group Co-Chair Jade North emphasised the importance of strong leadership and living football’s values.

“Throughout my football career, I have witnessed that football, at its very best, has an unsurpassed tradition of welcoming people from all backgrounds, races, cultures, and religions,” said North.

“To millions of Australians football is more than a sport – it is a place to find joy and acceptance and as the national body we need to ensure that it remains that treasured place of safety.

“By the very virtue of the vast participation and supporter base, as a game we have an important opportunity to utilise our platform and embrace a role in addressing racial discrimination.  I am heartened by the measures taken by all parties and the NIAG will continue to advocate for education and inclusive practices as football lives its values and mission.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark said the displays at the Australia Cup final “were some of the ugliest scenes we have seen by spectators at a football game in our country”.

“The response by Football Australia to these deplorable incidents is to be commended. We hope the sanctions issued to Sydney United will act as a warning to other clubs that racist behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated,” Mr Bark said.

“Fighting hate is everyone’s responsibility. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is proud to work with Football Australia and Sydney United on programs to counter antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.

“We look forward to the club giving back to the community. As role models, it is incumbent on the players to take the lead in displaying mutual respect, understanding and acceptance on and off the field.”

-Football Australia Press Release