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A-League Supporters Boycott Officially Over!

Frank Lowy, co-founder and chairman of Westfield Group, center, Steven Lowy, co-chief executive officer, left, and Peter Lowy, co-chief executive officer, pose for a photograph following the company's annual general meeting in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Westfield Group, the world's biggest shopping center operator by assets, will sell about A$900 million ($861 million) of 'non-core' malls to help fund developments without raising capital from shareholders. Photographer: Dan Himbrechts/Bloomberg via Getty Images May 29, 2013| Credit: Bloomberg

Brothers and sisters, dear friends on The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer, I have some groundbreaking, mindshaking, doorcrashing, doorsmashing, earthshattering news to tell you that will be a delight to everyone around the world: the Hyundai A-League Supporters’ Boycott in Australia is officially OVER! Yes! Hallelujah! Shout to the football gods a loud, harmonious Amen! God is great! Football is great! Viva sports and viva life!

Yes, my friends, in the end, the supporters won the battle and now new changes are in store to help ease the process of handling fans whose passion for the game enters the danger zone, not unlike that of Kenny Loggins and Top Gun infamy. A four-hour meeting took place at FFA headquarters in Sydney, New South Wales that included some important changes. Important tidbits…

They included changing of banning notices to become “intention to ban” notices, as well as fans then having an opportunity to view evidence being relied on for any proposed ban.

The FFA has agreed to implement the changes by no later than February 19 next year, with fan groups from all 10 clubs expressing their pleasure in joint statements released on Facebook on Thursday morning.

“The minimum requirements of those systems have been agreed to, with the finer details to be finalised shortly,” the statement read. “There has also been an unequivocal commitment by the FFA to defend football and its fans.”

“We had a significant meeting with representatives of all 10 clubs’ active supporter groups and I’m pleased to say we reached in-principle agreement on a couple of changes to the banning process and they [the fan groups] endorsed those changes,” Gallop told reporters at a late-night press conference. “There was a general good understanding of each other’s positions, some robust debate of course.

“I think it was productive. There were some strong feelings and we’ve listened to that and made some changes to the process but maintained the integrity of the process as well. And if the ban is to be maintained they’ll still have an opportunity to appeal the ban to an independent panel at a later date.”

“We have a common objective and we’ll be working towards that objective,” said Football Federation Australia boss Steven Lowy. “And FFA will be coming to this [meeting] in the spirit of goodwill with an open mind and the purpose of solving this issue in the long-term through a very serious consultative process.

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“That consultative process will include active discussions with the fans which starts this evening. And we certainly hope to get them [the fans] back to the game. It’s up to the fans but it’s not just up to the fans, it’s up to the outcome of very constructive discussions that will take place this evening.”

So rejoice, people of the Stoppage Time. It’s a matter of “As you were, noble fans of the A-League.” Expect an exciting, electric atmosphere down under as TST continues its coverage of the 2015-16 Hyundai A-League!

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