|By JOHN GRECO
Football Federation Australia chief executive officer David Gallop has a blunt message for the fans involved in alleged racist taunts and flare throwing at A-League games, declaring: "You will be banned and dealt with by police".
Gallop's warning comes after several unsavoury incidents marred the latest round of matches over the weekend.
The most serious allegation came from the game in Adelaide on Sunday, where Wellington attacker Paul Ifill revealed he had been the target of racial abuse from Reds supporters.
It came after three Western Sydney Wanderers fans were arrested for throwing flares onto the Allianz Stadium pitch during Saturday's A-League Harbour City derby.
FFA is currently working with police and the club to identify the culprit who abused Ifill, with Gallop promising tough action.
"Fans must know they'll get banned if they engage in that type of thing," Gallop said on Monday.
"Football wants to celebrate its multiculturalism, its diversity and that kind of taunt is something that's not on.
"We've seen overseas there can be criminal sanctions in relation to that.
"At this stage it's dealt with as a ban and those bans must be taken seriously.
"You can expect a knock on your door from police if you engage in that type of behaviour."
Gallop, who oversaw similar problems with crowd trouble during his time in charge of the National Rugby League, called on the clubs' relevant fan groups to help eradicate this type of behaviour from matches.
He said while he was confident this type of conduct would not become a major issue in the game, it was important to make a stand on it straight away.
"We have to remember that was a very small minority of people that misbehaved," Gallop said.
"But our fans need to know we take seriously those issues.
"It's an issue we need to stay vigilant about and we need our fans to stay vigilant about.
"If our fan groups can regulate that kind of thing then we're a good chance of stamping it out."
Former Socceroos midfielder Robbie Slater backed the governing body's hard stance.
"[Racial taunts] are obviously 100 times worse than the flares and we don't want any part of it," Slater told Sportal.
"If anyone is found to be guilty of that they should be banned. Quite simply, 'See you later, we don't want you around,'."
Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic, who was just metres away from being struck by a flare thrown by his own fans during the derby, added: "They can be dangerous and we don't need them in Australian football.
"People who do decide to light them do deserve to be punished because they know the safety issues."