FFA hopeful on flare restrictions in NSW

Football Federation Australia (FFA) is hopeful the NSW Government will adopt legislation to make it harder to buy flares and light them at A-League matches, following a string of violent displays in last weekend’s Sydney derby.

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FFA chief executive David Gallop said he’s had promising discussions with government representatives about implementing restrictions like those on spray paint, where the buyer’s name is entered into a system and a serial number matched to the flare so they can be tracked.

The restrictions would also make it illegal for minors to purchase them or for adults to supply them to under-18s.

Gallop said the concept would be another step towards putting a stop to incidents that are becoming a regular occurrence in the high-intensity fixtures between Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers.

“We have written to the governments in NSW and Victoria and requested that there be more regulation around the purchase of flares,” he said.

“Graffiti spray can paint is under a legislative system now where you need to register to buy it, and we would certainly like to see that kind of thing brought in with marine flares.

“At the moment it’s too easy to buy a marine flare and use it for the wrong purposes.

“Those that I’ve spoken to in the government like the idea, so I’m hopeful. It’s obviously not an easy process to get legislation enacted, but I’m hopeful that will be one measure that they do adopt.”

A number of flares were smuggled in and lit on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium, where a brawl involving more than 60 people was among a string of violent incidents.

Police used capsicum spray to break up the fight between Sky Blues and Wanderers fan, while three people were charged during the night that saw smoke bombs set off and bottles thrown.

The Wanderers have long denounced any sort of violence along with the use of flares amid the Red and Black Bloc (RBB) supporters group.

“It’s difficult to hold clubs necessarily liable for flares,” Gallop said.

“There are security measures in place to try to stop flares coming into ground.”