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Football Australia issues life ban to supporter shown performing fascist salute at Australia Cup final

Football Australia has issued a life ban to a spectator who was shown performing a fascist salute at Saturday's Australia Cup final.

In a statement, Football Australia (FA) said it "adopts a zero-tolerance policy to disrespectful and offensive behaviour at sanctioned events".

The spectator was not named but has been identified by Football Australia. 

The FA said it would continue to liaise with police to identify other individuals who "may have committed similar anti-social behaviour at the Australia Cup final".

The ban is effective immediately and applies to all matches run under the auspices of Football Australia, including national team games, A-Leagues, Australia Cup and NPL matches. 

Saturday's showpiece event at the Western Sydney stadium between Sydney United 58 and Macarthur FC was marred by a number of incidents in the crowd, including disruption to the pre-game Welcome to Country ceremony.

Footage showed some supporters performing fascist salutes or holding banners with nationalist symbols.

The Sydney United supporter groups repeatedly sang Za Dom — spremni! (For homeland — ready!): a chant associated with the far-right Croatian Ustaše movement that collaborated with fascist regimes in Italy and Germany to commit war crimes, including genocide, during World War II.

FA chief executive James Johnson also penned a letter to supporters in which he thanked the football community for "taking a stand" against the actions witnessed on Saturday.

"What should have been a celebration of a tightly contested and excellent game of football, has been marred by the actions of groups of a few people, which do not represent the values and expectations of our football community," he wrote.

"Their actions have disrespected, hurt, and offended members of our football community.

"I want to thank the Australian football community for taking a stand and making it clear that they will not accept this kind of behaviour and that it has no place in our game.

"Together, we must continue to ensure our game remains a safe and enjoyable environment for all Australians engaging with football, where the rights, dignity and worth of every person are properly respected."

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Darren Bark said the group cautiously welcomed Football Australia's decision.

"Images on social media show many more fans taking part in these abhorrent acts, including booing the Welcome to Country. We look forward to further swift and heavy penalties to be enforced by Football Australia as these fans are identified," Mr Bark said.

"This behaviour was not only an affront to the Jewish community and the Indigenous community but an affront to all Australians." 

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet previously characterised the fans' behaviour as "absolutely horrendous", adding: "It has no place in our state."

NSW Police confirmed they are continuing to investigate reports of alleged antisocial and offensive behaviour at the game.

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