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A Sydney United 58 fan caught performing a Nazi salute during the Australia Cup final has been slapped with a lifetime ban from Football Australia.
NPL NSW side and former NSL club United were the first non A-League Men’s team to reach the tournament decider.
But their achievement was overshadowed by the behaviour of a section of their supporters as they suffered a 2-0 loss to Macarthur FC at Commbank Stadium on Saturday night.
That included Nazi salutes, a group of fans booing through the Welcome to Country, and the chanting of songs with fascist links.
Some followers of United, formerly known as Sydney Croatia, sang Za Dom Spremni (For Homeland – Ready) – a chant used by the far-right Ustase movement in Croatia in the 1930s and 1940s – while others held up questionable banners.
Football Australia (FA) said it had concluded an investigation – in collaboration with both clubs, their security providers and NSW Police – into the identified spectator and issued a lifetime ban for the “fascist salute or similar gesture” captured on the host broadcast.
The ban covers all FA-sanctioned football matches, including NPL, A-Leagues, Australia Cup and national team matches.
There could be more bans to come, with FA confirming it is still working with authorities to identify other individuals “who may have committed similar anti-social behaviour”.
Parts of the 16,461 fans marred the Welcome to Country ceremony with boos and chants, while the coverage showed some performing Nazi salutes.
“Many of you would have witnessed the footage or seen the images,” FA chief executive James Johnson said in an open letter to fans.
“What should have been a celebration of a tightly contested and excellent game of football has been marred by the actions of groups of a few people, which do not represent the values and expectations of our football community,”
“Their actions have disrespected, hurt, and offended members of our football community.”
Socceroos great Craig Foster expressed his disappointment and anger at the crowd’s actions on Stan Sport FC on Monday.
“It is the most abhorrent thing that we’ve seen at a football match for a very long time,” said Foster.
”The point is that something heinous has occurred here and the game has to be big enough, strong enough and devoted enough to its own principles, to take the absolute strongest action that can possibly be taken.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Darren Bark welcomed FA’s action against the fan but expected more to come.
“We cautiously welcome the action taken by Football Australia in handing a lifetime attendance ban to a fan who performed a fascist salute,” said Bark in a statement.
“Images on social media show many more fans taking part in these abhorrent acts, including booing the Welcome to Country.
“We look forward to further swift and heavy penalties to be enforced by Football Australia as these fans are identified.
“This behaviour was not only an affront to the Jewish community and the Indigenous community but an affront to all Australians.”