The Australia Cup 2022 Final, played in-front of a near record Cup crowd of 16,461 passionate fans at CommBank Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, was the culmination of a highly successful knockout tournament which saw record club entries, crowds, broadcast audiences, and a tournament which captured the imagination of the Australian football community throughout 2022.
Consistent with the governing body’s core values, Football Australia prides itself on being the most multicultural, diverse, and inclusive sport in Australia. Our strength as a sport is our diversity. We celebrate that football is embedded in the nation’s social fabric and it follows the diverse story of Australia.
Last night’s Australia Cup 2022 Final was by and large a celebration, full of colour and with a buoyant atmosphere where most of the 16,461 fans participated in a respectful way and helped create an optimum fan engagement experience.
However, Football Australia acknowledges and strongly condemns the actions of a small minority of individuals who engaged in behaviour that is not consistent with Football Australia’s values and wider community expectations.
Football Australia took steps during the match to address some isolated behaviours by a small minority of individuals, including facilitating the evictions of eight people.
Football Australia is today assessing all footage and images available of certain individuals which are of concern to our organisation and the broader Australian football community, including the displaying of the “Hitler salute”.
Football Australia is working closely with the management of CommBank Stadium and NSW Police to determine strong and swift action on any identified anti-social behaviour, which may also be deemed as illegal in the state of NSW.
Football Australia also acknowledges that the noise level of the crowd during the Welcome to Country performed by Erin Wilkins before the commencement of the game reached unacceptable levels. We regret that this occurred and are reviewing all available footage and audio to further analyse the incident.
Football Australia has been in direct communication with Erin Wilkins during and since the match and will continue to receive hers and the Football Australia National Indigenous Advisory Group’s guidance on this matter.
As a Reconciliation Action Plan organisation, Football Australia is committed to improving the way we embed and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in our game. Although we have made progress with regards to this, the events of last night highlight the need for further education to be carried out within the broader football community.
Football is for all, where there is absolutely no place for anti-social behaviour in our game or the community at large.
Football Australia will not let the actions of a few cast a shadow over our great game, which is loved by millions across Australia.
Football Australia will be holding discussions with Sydney United 58 FC about the behaviour of certain fans, which could lead to both individual and club sanctions.