The following statement is in regards to the events that transpired on Saturday evening in the closing minutes of Newcastle United Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium.
The Squadron Football Supporters Club (Inc) Committee is under no illusions that the events that occurred on Saturday night could have been avoided had 3 Wanderers fans (who were obviously identified by the jerseys they were wearing) not been allowed to enter Bay 2 in the 90th minute of the match.The Squadron FSC had made it clearly known to the stakeholders involved in the weeks prior to the match that there should be a strong security/police presence at the entrances of and in close proximity to Bays 1 & 2. This advice was based on previous incidents where away fans have entered the bay with the intent to incite violence and harass the home fans in similar circumstances. It was extremely disappointing for us to see that this advice was not heeded.On top of this, every person who enters Bays 1 & 2 (and other bays around the ground) is normally required to have their ticket or membership checked prior to entering the bay. Despite being labelled a ‘high risk’ game, this did not happen on Saturday night. We are yet to be made aware as to why this was not the case and will find out in due course.
Also in the discussions during the leadup to this game, we had requested that Western Sydney supporters be exited via Northern gates at full-time. Unfortunately due to logistical issues this wasn’t possible, however until the 90th minute everything else had been fine.The Squadron FSC condemns all violence involving police, security, opposition supporters and other Jets fans. We will not be speculating in the public domain in regards to the reported brutality by the Riot Police/Security and will leave that to the correct authorities and the people involved as it is under legal investigation. We believe that violence has no place in football, just as it has no place in wider society.
We will be requesting to attend briefings for all future high risk games to ensure supporter views are considered. We will continue to take all the appropriate measures that are necessary to ensure the safety of our members and fellow Jets supporters.
In closing, The Squadron FSC has built a strong relationship with Hunter Sports Group, Stadium management, Newcastle Police and E-Group Security this season. We will be utilising these strong ties to ensure that the correct measures are put in place for all high risk games in the future so events like these never transpire again.
While we thank media outlets for giving us the opportunity to produce our view point, we will be making no further comments until we have met with all stakeholders involved to review the incident.