A group of fans of one of Australia’s most famous football clubs is under investigation after allegedly racially abusing an indigenous player from a rival team.
Jack Stewart, 24, who plays for APIA Leichhardt, was allegedly subjected to a series of vile insults by Sydney United 58 supporters at the Sydney United Sports Center in western Sydney on Sunday during the clash of the third round of the New South Wales National Premier League.
A furious Stewart filed a complaint with full-time match officials after they allegedly attacked him throughout the match.
The abuse the Oakhill College teacher in north-west Sydney was subjected to included: ‘Go play with your sticks’ and being called a ‘dirty Aboriginal c**t’.
The only Aboriginal player in the semi-pro competition was also subjected to homophobic slurs, despite being straight..
APIA Leichhardt footballer Jack Stewart was allegedly the target of a series of racist and homophobic slurs last weekend from Sydney United 58 fans.
The 24-year-old is proud of his Aboriginal roots and made a complaint on the pitch to full-time match officials after he was attacked (pictured playing for Mt Druitt Town in 2022)
Stewart’s formal complaint which he lodged with Football NSW officials after the match against Sydney United concluded 58
‘You stink.’ ‘Go s..k your boyfriend’s d..k you f***t.’ “You should wear your rainbow flag, bitch,” were other insults Stewart allegedly made.
Stewart also detailed in his written complaint that a fan allegedly said: ‘Come spit on my d..k what a fuck; would you love that?
Sydney United 58 is one of Australia’s most decorated football clubs, having produced Socceroos such as Robbie Slater, Graham Arnold, Tony Popovic and Mile Jedinak.
They were a powerhouse in the now-defunct National Football League, which was succeeded by the A-League in 2005.
The Reds were also Australian Cup finalists in 2022, losing the final to A-League club Macarthur FC, which at the time was managed by Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke.
Football NSW has launched an immediate investigation into the matter involving Stewart.
“Football NSW has received an allegation of racial abuse during the men’s NPL NSW third round match between Sydney United 58 and APIA Leichhardt FC,” a statement read.
“Football NSW has opened an investigation into the alleged incident and is working with both clubs.
‘Football NSW adopts a policy of zero tolerance for disrespectful or offensive behavior at sanctioned events and is committed to promoting a safe and friendly environment for all participants in football.’
Sydney United 58 are one of Australia’s most decorated football clubs, having produced Socceroos such as Robbie Slater, Graham Arnold and Mile Jedinak (pictured supporters at the Australian Cup final last October)
Football Australia is also on the other side of the matter, issuing its own statement on Thursday.
Football Australia have been informed by Football NSW that they have received an allegation of racial abuse during the men’s NSW NPL Round 3 match between Sydney United 58 FC and APIA Leichhardt FC on the weekend of 18-19 February 2023. .
“Football NSW has taken immediate action and has opened an investigation into the alleged incident. Both clubs have been notified and are fully cooperating with the investigation.
“Football Australia will provide all necessary support to Football NSW as it investigates the allegations. He will also be monitoring the investigation process and the outcome to consider any implications for the existing sanctions against the club.
“Football Australia and Football NSW have reiterated their commitment to a zero tolerance policy towards any form of disrespectful, discriminatory or offensive behavior at sanctioned events.
‘Football Australia and its member associations are committed to ensuring that all participants in football can compete and enjoy the game in a safe and inclusive environment.
“Football Australia remains committed to promoting a safe and friendly environment for all participants in football.
“The national governing body takes all reports of discriminatory behavior seriously and encourages anyone who has witnessed or experienced such behavior to come forward and report it to the relevant authorities.”
Nor is it the first time that the ‘fans’ of Sydney United 58 have generated unwanted headlines.
At the Australian Cup final last October, some fans could be heard chanting during the national anthem and the traditional Welcome to the Country before kick-off against Macarthur FC.
The chants and chants were clearly audible during the Channel 10 broadcast and sparked an angry reaction on social media.
At the same game, images of fans with their right arms raised in what appeared to be a Nazi salute quickly went viral.
And in April 2021, Sydney United and Rockdale fans were banned from games for the rest of the season following a wild brawl on Anzac Day at Ilinden Sports Centre.
Three spectators were taken to hospital after spectators stormed the field.
Riot police were also called in at the time, as the ugly situation threatened to quickly escalate between the two sets of rival supporters shortly after full time.