What Gallop should have said.

When The Sunday Telegraph contacted me about a leaked list of 198 people banned from attending matches in the Hyundai A-League, my reaction was to say “Where and how that newspaper got hold of that list?”

Since the publication of the story about the banned list, many in the game have pointed fingers about the list and how it came to be published.

Let me assure all fans that the list wasn’t leaked by the FFA.  The list is sent to clubs, venues and police to give them the tools to enforce the bans, but those on the list still have the right to confidentiality.  The FFA will pursue any possible avenues to identify the source and assess whether any criminal procedure needs to be undertaken.

Let’s be clear about this.  The publishing of that list was clearly done to damage football and portray the sport in the worst possible light.

If you come to our attention because of serious anti-social behaviour, you are liable to be banned. Every A-League club has a home ground and if you enter someone’s home you need to respect the host.

That being said I understand that in some cases, some believe they were banned unjustly.  That is why the FFA will now put an appeal system in place where fans will be able to challenge their bans if they feel this was done unfairly.

 The article in the The Sunday Telegraph and later repeated on Sydney radio have tried to portray football as a sport which is alien to Australian sporting culture.

Nothing could be further from the truth. An example is a recent survey has shown that football is now more popular among both 6-13 year-old girls and boys than basketball, athletics, bicycling and cricket.

We must all continue to work together on our mission to continue in making football a viable and sustainable sport in Australia and the 1.8 million fans who attend A-League games are a huge part of that.

We are Football.

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