Football Australia has promised to act swiftly against fans accused of shouting over an Indigenous welcoming ceremony and making Nazi salutes at the Australia Cup final, prompting widespread outrage.
More than 16,000 fans were in attendance at Western Sydney Stadium on Saturday for the football final where Macarthur FC recorded a 2-0 win over semi-professional outfit Sydney United 58.
On Sunday, Football Australia said it “strongly condemns” the incident while revealing that eight people were evicted from western Sydney’s CommBank Stadium.
“Football Australia is today assessing all footage and images available of certain individuals which are of concern to our organisation and the broader Australian football community, including the display of the ‘Hitler salute’,” the governing body said.
“Football Australia is working closely with the management of CommBank Stadium and New South Wales Police to determine strong and swift action on any identified anti-social behaviour, which may also be deemed as illegal in the state of NSW.”
was at the #AustraliaCup final tonight and what should’ve been a celebration of everything that makes Aus football great ended as a reminder of what’s holding it back. respecting history goes both ways and racism – whether outright or covert – must be stamped out.
— Samantha Lewis (@battledinosaur) October 1, 2022
It also acknowledged “unacceptable” crowd noise during a “welcome to country” ceremony acknowledging Indigenous people’s link to the land.
“Although we have made progress with regards to this, the events of last night highlight the need for further education to be carried out within the broader football community,” the statement said.
The incident comes after the Australia Football League – a group of Australian Rules football teams – last month said it was investigating “very serious allegations” made by Indigenous players who say they were racially abused by a head coach at the Hawthorn Football Club in Melbourne.
Indigenous players on Australian Rules football teams, including several star players, have often complained of crowd abuse at stadiums.