The establishment of an elite national Australian soccer league has been accompanied by an unprecedented growth in popularity for the world game in several Australian cities. Such growth presents numerous challenges for public order maintenance, particularly in light of the widespread concern over the relationship between soccer, disasters in major closed venues and violence. After outlining the emerging issues, and the extant Australian research into the phenomena of policing and sports crowd disorder, this study offers a knowledge based approach to foster informed, reflective and collaborative policing in elite and sub-elite soccer venues. Rather than advocating a fundamental shift in the current public order policing paradigm, we suggest drawing on elements of best practice that are currently adopted in other Australian sporting and public order settings and appropriate overseas experience to facilitate a better understanding of the dynamics of Australian soccer fandom. The result should be the promotion of safer yet exciting events at which interactive crowd management based on harm minimization principles are key features.
Field of Research
160205 Police Administration, Procedures and Practice