FOOTBALL Federation Australia officials have obtained an image of a man they believe may have information about last weekend’s flare-lighting incident at Gosford and hope Newcastle supporter group the Squadron will honour a promise to help identify him.
After studying video footage of the unsavoury episode, which occurred during the Jets’ 2-0 loss to Central Coast last Saturday, FFA believes it is close to pinpointing the culprit.
And FFA’s head of corporate affairs and communications, Kyle Patterson, reiterated warnings yesterday that the person responsible for lighting the flare would face police prosecution and stiff sanctions from the game’s governing body, including a five-year ban from attending A-League matches.
Patterson said FFA was ‘‘absolutely fair-dinkum’’ about cracking down on anti-social conduct from fans attending matches.
‘‘We love the passion, we love the colour, we love the football culture that the A-League has, but we will not tolerate this type of behaviour,’’ Patterson said.
‘‘It’s not acceptable. It’s not negotiable.’’
Patterson said that for sanctions to have the desired effect ‘‘we have to apply them pretty rigorously’’.
He said the game’s governing body had noted comments in the Newcastle Herald yesterday from Squadron spokesman Tim Verschelden.
Verschelden has tried to distance the Squadron from any involvement in Saturday’s incident.
He said the people responsible for ugly scenes such as the flare-lighting and throwing rubbish at Mariners players were ‘‘ring-in blokes’’.
He told the Herald: ‘‘Us senior Squadron blokes will always help any authorities in anything around us.
‘‘We will always make sure we help find out who the culprits are that do these terrible things and make sure we get to the bottom of it.’’
It is understood Bluetongue Stadium management were trying to contact Squadron representatives yesterday to identify a person of interest.
‘‘We’ve got an image of a person who should be known to those people around him,’’ Patterson said.
‘‘It seems he’s celebrating the lighting of a flare.
‘‘If he didn’t do it, he probably knows who did.
‘‘We’re going to work through the process to identify that person, then we’re going to give the person the chance to co-operate with us and explain how the flare was in that proximity.
‘‘If the Squadron are good to their word, which we think they are, they will help us identify the perpetrator who lit that flare.’’
FFA and police have already taken a tough stance on spectator misbehaviour this season.
An Adelaide United fan was banned from Hindmarsh Stadium for lighting a flare after a 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory in October.
The 26-year-old was charged by police with acts to cause harm, possessing and igniting a flare, disorderly behaviour and throwing a missile.