Football vs Wilson and Jones - The Week That Was

It has dominated social media this week but what exactly are the key issues involved in the attacks on Australian football?

The Australian football community has been up in arms this week following comments from the Daily Telegraph's Rebecca Wilson and 2GB's Alan Jones about A-League fans.

The likes of former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Bosnich and Fox Sports commentator Simon Hill have come to football's defence.

Goal Australia has put together a timeline of the key moments in this war of words.

Sunday 22nd November

  • The Daily Telegraph publishes a full gallery of the 198 individuals they say are banned by Football Federation Australia (FFA) from every stadium in the country.
  • The newspaper also publishes a number of articles - both in print and online - calling for FFA to put in more effort to stop violence and antisocial behaviour at the A-League.
  • Western Sydney Wanderers are singled out as the problem club.
  • Wilson wrote: "Soccer in Australia is at risk of becoming on a par with the worst of the English Premier League and European soccer turmoil."
  • Football fans erupt on social media, with claims some of the individuals identified are not banned and others are minors.
  • Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democrats demands that NSW Police confirm or deny whether they are involved in leaking the names to the media.

Monday 23rd November

  • Wilson is invited onto Jones' breakfast show to discuss her articles, with the infamous shock-jock comparing A-League arrests to this month's terrorism attacks in Paris.
  • Jones said: "Is this like terrorism in Paris? The leaders have no guts?" Wilson replied: "That's exactly right, Alan."
  • Later that day, Wilson continues to defend her decision to publish the names of the 198 banned fans on Melbourne radio station SEN 1116.
  • On Triple M, Bosnich claims football is often targeted by the mainstream media while other sports are protected.
  • Bosnich said: "I spent 20 years in England and have travelled around the world and never known a country that are so one-sided [against] one sport."
  • On the Daily Football Show, TV personality George Donikian slams Jones' comments: "That's not a long bow, that's just preposterous."

Tuesday 24th November

  • FFA releases a statement defending its right to ban fans, while neglecting to refute any element of Wilson and Jones' comments.
  • A-League chief Damien de Bohun said: "FFA works with all stakeholders (police, governments, security, clubs and venues) to have strong banning processes and robust security planning for matches, which includes listing banned spectators."
  • Fans begin to plan boycotts of A-League games.
  • Roy Morgan publishes research showing football is the number one sport for children aged 6-13, while also ranking first for girls of all ages after overtaking netball.

Wednesday 25th November

  • In his weekly 'Simon Says' column on Fox Sports' website, Hill critiqued Wilson's claims in an attempt to "redress the balance" of what he claims is a one-sided argument.
  • The highly respected commentator defends the FFA's policies, the Wanderers and A-League fans in general, while questioning why Wilson wrote the story in the first place and what role the NSW Police have played.
  • Hill wrote: "There is a cultural problem. It lies in the way football is perceived, reported upon and judged by those who exist only on the periphery of it - and most of it is based on age-old prejudice, and pure ignorance."
  • FFA's website publishes a piece from CEO David Gallop where he claims "we need to put fans first".
  • Gallop follows that with a statement that leaves some fans unimpressed as it is perceived as too weak against Wilson.
  • Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas writes an open letter to members, defending the club and its fans' reputations, while pledging to help supporters, who have been unfairly banned by FFA.
  • FFA calls for an end to "physical threats and death threats" against Wilson.
  • Sydney FC's active supporter group - The Cove - hold talks with FFA to air fans' grievances, while also revealing plans to meet with NSW Police and the SCG Trust - administrators of Allianz Stadium.

Thursday 26th November

  • Jones defends Wilson's initial article again, claiming she "did an outstanding community service."
  • Jones attempts to clarify his initial Paris terrorism comments: "I argued that the terrorism in Paris was a crisis in Western political leadership and what's happening in soccer is a crisis of leadership. Simple as that." 
  • Former Socceroos midfielder and SBS analyst Craig Foster applauds the moves from football fans to organise strategic responses rather than as "a seething mass".
  • Foster wrote: "Don't threaten them, please, you don't need to, you have already won. The very fact that a powerful media organisation has to publish details of a tiny minority of transgressors in a shoddy and ill fated attempt at sabotage, speaks volumes."
  • FFA release a statement insisting A-League fans can appeal stadium bans.