An Adelaide United fan who racially abused Wellington Phoenix striker Paul Ifill last Sunday has been banned from attending any Australia-controlled match for two years, the Football Federation Australia (FFA) said in a statement Sunday.
According to Adelaide Now, the unnamed man breached the Football Federation Australia's (FFA) Spectator Code of Behavior during last Sunday's A-League match between Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium.
NZ Herald writes that Ifill, among the A-League's elite players, was the subject of a "blatantly racist'' remark from a fan behind the Phoenix bench when substituted during Wellington's 3-1 loss.
Ifill, an English-born Barbados international who has spent the majority of his career playing in England, took to Twitter after the loss saying the abuse came from a "very small minority'' of fans.
"Not happy been a long time since IV had to deal with anything like that,'' he tweeted. "A few things that were blatantly racist that I'd rather not repeat.''
Ifill's claims and anger were backed up by teammates, Stuff.co.nz reported.
''Unbelievable the things I heard from the bench...it's 2012 people,'' tweeted midfielder Alex Smith, who was on the bench at the time.
''I'll leave it for now but I will say it was very racist and disgraceful...''
Reserve goalkeeper Griffin McMaster described the abuse as ''unacceptable''.
Clause 'c' of the code states that spectators must "respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person regardless of their gender, ability, race, color, religion, language, politics, national or ethnic origin."
The FFA said compliance with the code is a condition of entry to all matches under its jurisdiction.
Phoenix management reported the incident to FFA officials match officials who contacted South Australian police to investigate the matter.
Adelaide United conveyed their concerns to Ifill and the Phoenix said they had accepted an "unequivocal apology''.
The perpetrator has now been identified and the FFA today announced the man would be prohibited from attending any match under their jurisdiction for a period of two years.
In addition to the sanction, Adelaide United has simultaneously cancelled the fan's club membership.
Prompt response appreciated
Although Stuff.co.nz reported that Ifill was unavailable for an interview last night, Ifill took to Twitter Sunday following the ban announcement, thanking the Adelaide club and police "for acting promptly and professionally in the investigation".
"Also want to thank WgtnPhoenixFC and all fans of the A-League for their support in what has been a pretty tough week for me #gladitsover," Ifill added.
Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante tweeted: ”@PaulIfill hope this makes people think twice about racial abuse! #noplace4racism."
Phoenix general manager David Dome said the club was comfortable with the two-year ban.
"It sends quite a strong message to the fans that this sort of thing won't be tolerated," he said.
The case is believed to be the first incident of racism in the A-League, but the punishment in in line with similar sanctions handed to fans found guilty of racial offenses at football matches in Europe, Stuff.co.nz reported.