Australian soccer chiefs vow action against fans who made Nazi salute at game

SYDNEY, Australia — Soccer bosses vowed on Sunday to act swiftly against fans accused of making Nazi salutes and shouting over an Indigenous welcoming ceremony at the Australia Cup final, prompting widespread outrage.

Fans at the game between A-League side Macarthur FC and semi-professional Sydney United 58 on Saturday were also heard chanting far-right Croatian songs, newspapers reported.

Football Australia said it “strongly condemns” what it described as a small minority of the 16,461 spectators during Macarthur’s 2-0 win over the team formerly known as Sydney Croatia.

Eight people were evicted from western Sydney’s CommBank Stadium, it said.

“Football Australia is today assessing all footage and images available of certain individuals which are of concern to our organization and the broader Australian [soccer] community, including the display of the ‘Hitler salute,’” the governing body said.

It said they were working with police and the stadium to determine “strong and swift action” against offenders, warning that some fan behavior may be illegal under New South Wales state law.

The governing body also acknowledged “unacceptable” crowd noise during a “welcome to country” ceremony acknowledging Indigenous people’s link to the land.

Jewish community representatives condemned those who made Nazi salutes.

“These vile salutes have no place in modern Australian society and we call on Football Australia to take immediate action against the perpetrators,” the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies said in a statement, and called for a lifetime ban on fans found to have made the gestures.

Players also demanded action.

On the pitch, the game is about fairness, respect, and courage, Professional Footballers Australia said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, in the stands these values were shattered,” they said.

The players called on the authorities to respond.

“An effective response will not be developed by focusing on whether or not these actions were inflicted by a minority,” the players’ association said.

“The key matter the game must address is the impact it has had on people in our community.”

Players promised to engage with anyone that was “targeted — and rightly distressed — by alleged fascist chanting and gestures.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.