Celebration of Sydney FC’s thumping 6-1 defeat of arch-rivals Melbourne Victory has been dampened after footage emerged on social media of Jubilee Stadium security and NSW Police evicting a Sydney FC fans and his family – including his special needs daughter.
The Harboursiders gained some measure of revenge for the 2017/18 semi-final on the pitch on Sunday evening, with a brace from English striker Adam Le Fondre combining with goals to Aaron Calver, Alex Brosque, Milos Ninkovic and an own goal from Leigh Broxham to fire Steve Corica’s side into a grand final matchup with Perth Glory next Sunday.
Unfortunately, the discussion following the game has been not on proceedings on the surface of Jubilee Stadium, but instead in the stands.
Footage posted to Twitter shows Jubilee Stadium security and NSW Police – some of them clearly armed – surrounding Sydney FC fan Rory Carroll during the fixture, before eventually escorting him from the premises alongside his family.
Carroll, a well-known and well-liked figure amongst followers of Australian football on Twitter, alleges that the incident arose when security prevented him from taking his special needs daughter to a nearby disabled toilet that had been deemed a restricted area for the fixture.
A regular at Sydney FC games, Carroll says that his daughter regularly used the disabled toilet during the season but was prevented from doing so on this occasion.
“Are you serious?” Carroll can be heard saying to NSW Police in one of the videos posted to Twitter.
“The disabled toilets that my daughter uses are over there, and they won’t let me take my daughter through. That’s what this is all about.
“You guys want to kick me out because he [a nearby security guard pointed out by Carrol] said so because I can’t take my disabled daughter five metres.”
Carroll later posted on social media saying that his special needs daughter, who can be seen wearing ear protection in the video posted, was “traumatized” by the incident.
Another video posted to social media shows Carroll and his family being escorted from the arena whilst fans boo Jubilee Stadium security and NSW Police enforcing the decision.
In a statement, NSW Police confirmed an incident had taken place.
“During an A-league game held at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah this evening, a male spectator was spoken to by security about seating protocols,” the statement said.
“Despite repeated requests by security, the man was unwilling to cooperate, police assistance was called, the man was spoken to by officers and after further refusal was escorted from the stadium with his family.”
Speaking to Ray Hadley on 2GB on Monday morning, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner denied Carroll had been asked to leave over the use of a disabled toilet.
“He was trying to get into the grandstand on his own. He pushed past some ushers and security,” Walton said.
“He was not permitted to go in there because he did not have a valid ticket for that area.
“He was alone asked to leave. Not his family or the other man that was with the children.
“I’m confident that if there was a need for a disabled person to go into an area where they didn’t have a ticket, they’d be facilitated.”
Carroll took to social media on Sunday evening to provide his own thoughts on the incident.
“I was pumped for the game tonight,” he wrote on his personal Twitter account.
“Taking the kids out on Mother’s Day and on a school night ahead of NAPLAN this week. My daughter had not stopped talking about it and got dressed into her Sydney FC gear after she finished her game this morning.
“Unfortunately that’s not how our night ended.
“I had to console crying girls, and put up with multiple police cars monitoring my movements as we exited the stadium.
“Enough is enough.
“Our stadium tonight was filled with first time security guards, some clearly on power trips. The issues always start with security setting themselves against fans. Myself and my family were surrounded by a phalanx of armed police.
“I know that some of these officers did not wake up this morning expecting to be coming down so hard on 10 yr old troublemakers, but absurdly here we are.
“My fault will always be speaking the truth to power. I do that everyday on Twitter, and I do that face to face. I do that with reason and logic.
“The question I must now ask myself is why bother taking my family to our stadiums?”
Other postings from attendees of the fixture reinforced Carroll’s observation of heavy-handed tactics employed by Jubilee Stadium security.
Condemnation of the incident, the latest flashpoint in a long line of incidents surrounding a heavy security presence at football games, was rapid; as was support for Carroll.
FFA Board Member Joseph Carrozzi, who had recently took part in a series of workshops around the country in which policing of A-League games and a collapse in active support was a significant focus, took to Twitter to assure that an investigation, which would include Head of the A-League Greg O’Rourke, would take place.
Unlike regular season A-League games, in which control is in the hands of the clubs, administration of finals fixtures is the domain of the FFA.
Sydney FC CEO Danny Townsend later echoed Carrozzi’s sentiments.
HEADER IMAGE: John Miles-Craig | @aussieJCMC