Police in spotlight after clashes with A-League fans

George Clarke and Anna Harrington |

The nearly-deserted RBB Wanderers supporters bay after the walk out during Saturday’s ALM match.
The nearly-deserted RBB Wanderers supporters bay after the walk out during Saturday’s ALM match.

Brisbane Roar chief executive Kaz Patafta has backed the A-League Men club’s supporters after footage emerged of a fan being pinned to the ground and placed in a leg-lock by Queensland Police.

Video circulated on social media showed a fan outside Suncorp Stadium on Sunday during Brisbane Roar’s 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory being restrained by two police officers and a security guard. 

The supporter can be heard screaming “I can’t breathe.”

Further footage distributed online after the game appeared to show police pushing Roar supporters as they made their way to the venue. 

Queensland Police said on Monday they issued a 17-year-old boy and a 27-year-old man “with move-on directions following alleged anti-social behaviour”, while a 16-year-old boy was arrested for the alleged lighting of a flare at the Roar-Victory game.

“We have heard your concerns and frustrations loud and clear, and I want to assure you that we are taking decisive actions in response,” Patafta said in a statement on Monday night.

“Brisbane Roar Football Club stands unwaveringly with our fans. 

“You are the heart and soul of our club, and your safety and enjoyment are our highest priorities. 

“We are committed to upholding the rights and safety of our fans, and any form of misconduct, whether by individuals or authorities, will be addressed with the utmost seriousness.

“As we move forward, your support, understanding and co-operation is invaluable.

“Together, we will ensure that Brisbane Roar Football Club remains a symbol of unity, respect and passion in (a) safe environment.

“Thank you for standing with us as we navigate this issue. Together, we roar louder and stand stronger against any form of misconduct by individuals or authorities.”

It was one of several flashpoints between fans and security officials at games over the weekend.

Western Sydney Wanderers active supporter group the RBB (Red and Black Bloc) staged a walkout during Saturday’s 4-1 derby loss to Sydney FC, where there were 14 arrests.

Supporters posted videos of them being surrounded by NSW Police after exiting CommBank Stadium.

One Wanderers fan uploaded images of cuts to his face, which he claimed were the result of police activity. 

Sources say the RBB were returning a club-authorised banner that was unfurled before their game and trying to return to their allocated seats when a large group were told they could not return.

Macarthur fans also clashed with security guards, who forced them to take down a banner in Friday’s 2-0 home win over Melbourne City.

APL commissioner Nick Garcia was unavailable for comment.

The league body issued a two-paragraph response confirming they were investigating the incidents. 

“Creating a safe and enjoyable environment both inside and outside our venues for all fans, stakeholders and staff is our number one priority,” the APL said in an unattributed statement. 

“We are aware of incidents that have occurred at CommBank Stadium and Suncorp Stadium, and are investigating these incidents as part of a full review with clubs, venues and police, along with feedback from fans.”

AAP