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Fan groups suspend A-League boycott

Dec 10, 2015; 6:08 AM 718

Fan groups agreed on Thursday to suspend their boycott of A-League games after a breakthrough meeting with Football Federation Australia to thrash out a solution to a damaging row over banned supporters.

Thousands of fans stayed away from last weekend's matches amid fury over the publication of a confidential list of supporters barred from stadiums across the country.

Initial anger over a perceived privacy breach after the names and photos of 198 banned A-League fans were published quickly morphed into a backlash against the FFA, who were accused of being out of touch with grassroots supporters of the game.

But in a late-night meeting on Wednesday between FFA chief David Gallop and fan group representatives, the governing body agreed in principal to expansive reform of its unpopular stadium banning processes.

Supporter groups announced on their Facebook pages Thursday that the boycott would be temporarily suspended, indicating that they were pleased to have negotiated a "fair and equitable system".

"There has also been an unequivocal commitment by the FFA to defend football and its fans," said the Red and Black Bloc, representing fans at one of the best-supported clubs in the league, Western Sydney Wanderers.

"The FFA have also committed to providing active supporter groups with details of arrangements it has with third party security service providers.

"It is on this basis, and provided of course, that the FFA formally implements these systems, that the RBB has agreed to temporarily suspend fan boycotts."

But it warned that if FFA backtracks or fails to follow through, "we will take all necessary steps to hold it accountable".

"For now, we will return to the terrace this weekend and do what we do best. Support our team unconditionally," it added.

Supporters had demanded a transparent and documented process for banning fans with defined standards of evidence, a fair appeals process and a thorough explanation of the role security company Hatamoto plays in fan management.