FFA to follow up on derby flares
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Football Federation Australia will review security and police reports from Saturday night's A-League Sydney derby, but appear unlikely to activate Western Sydney's suspended three-point penalty over flare-lighting during the match.
The first flares of the season were lit in the Wanderers' active supporter bay at ANZ Stadium, where a record 61,880 turned out to watch Sydney FC thrash their crosstown rivals 4-0.
They came despite the threat of fines and lost points after FFA handed the club a suspended three-point penalty and $50,000 fine in February for bringing the game into disrepute.
They also followed a letter released to Western Sydney members on Friday, in which chief executive John Tsatsimas, coach Tony Popovic and captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley pleaded with members to refrain from lighting flares.
"As a club we are united to succeed on the pitch and have a flare-free season," the letter read.
"Use of flares and anti-social behaviour is unacceptable and not welcome at our games."
FFA said it intended to review reports on Monday, but probably won't take it further.
"We always said it will have to be an issue of a significant nature," FFA chief executive David Gallop told Fairfax Media.
"The police were by and large comfortable with the crowd behaviour.
"Obviously the flares continue to be a source of frustration and the booing by the fans themselves shows that the vast majority of people don't want to see flares."
The Wanderers' punishment last season came after a small group of away fans ignited about 20 flares, as well as crowd-frightening detonators, during a match against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.
A week later, Victory were given the same punishment after poor behaviour at the Melbourne derby, when two flares were ripped, missiles were thrown onto the pitch and a TV news crew outside AAMI Park was allegedly assaulted.
At the time, FFA said similar incidents would trigger the suspended sanction and see a points deduction.