SCG Muangthong United has lodged an appeal regarding the decision to ban fans from attendance at matches for the remainder of this season, and the beginning of next, and the decision to ban the hosting of five matches at the home stadium, which would also extend into the next season.
Due to the penalty made by the disciplinary and manners committee following violent altercations between SCG Muangthong United fans and Thai Port FC fans after the Toyota Cup 2016, second match semi-final match on September 14th, 2016, SCG Muangthong United has been banned from hosting five home fixtures and banned from allowing MTUTD fans to attend, in effect from September 21. The situation has forced SCG Muangthong United to secure Rajamangala Stadium to host the remaining fixtures of the season, plus the quater-final of the Chang FA Cup, 2016.
SCG Muangthong United has lodged an appeal to the Appeals Committee of The Football Association of Thailand (FA) on September 21, 2016, with the following content:
To Chairman of the Boards of Appeal, The Football Association of Thailand Subject Appeal of penalty Refer to Letter no. 1111/2559, dated 20 September 2016
In reference to the disciplinary and etiquette committee letter concerning penalty of the violent altercations between SCG Muangthong United fans and Thai Port FC fans.
SCG Muangthong United club will embrace all charges. However, there are some matters that we would like to propose in an appeal:
1. SCG MTUTD has clarified the use of due diligence and had put in place effective security, consisting of: 1.1 a pre-match risk assessment, in coordination with local officers, and requesting the reinforcement from 400 soldiers and police officers 1.2 The safety and security plans met international standards. Close attention was given to the before-during-after competition. Of course, the cheering zones of fans were separated for each team. Additionally, after the match SCG Muangthong United fans were held in the stadium by security officials, and the Thai Port FC fans exited the stadium first. SCG Muangthong United fans were not allowed out until 30 minutes after the Port F.C. fans had left 1.3 During the match, the situation went well. Thai Port FC players and staff were well-protected by security plans. 1.4 Safety teams coordinated and communicated with each other to make sure everything was secured at all times. 1.5 We confirm that we strictly applied all planned security measures within the stadium and the surrounding areas.
SCG Muangthong United followed FIFA regulations diligently and carefully, knowing full well the history of fan altercations between these clubs. Despite effective protection, there were still a few fans intent on violence, and the club took the initiative to control the situation rapidly. The vast majority of fans were not involved with this violence, and MTUTD obviously had nothing to do with the brawl that occurred after the competition and away from the stadium.
2. The FA had ordered that we host home fixtures at a neutral field and the fans be not allowed to attend both home and away games, although at the time the investigation was still underway. This means MTUTD were already punished once by not hosting a match.
3. According to the reasons above, the penalty is excessive and will negatively affect on the image of the players, fans, and sponsors who were not involved in the situation; they should not be the targets of punishments. As a result, our club would like to lodge an appeal for penalty reduction:
3.1 According to matter number 2.2, that SCG Muangthong United are not allowed to host five home fixtures in a row, which began on September 20, 2016
SCG club has two home fixtures left in the 2016 season 1) FA CUP with Chonburi FC on September 21, and 2) Toyota Thai League with Army United on October 19th. Due to the penalty, the club has already hosted one fixture at a neutral field, the Toyota Thai League with BBCU FC on September 18th, at Supachalasai Stadium.
Therefore, banning home fixtures for the remaining three matches will extend into the 2017 season. This will cause considerable damage to the club's financial stability since the professional players earn their wages through the clubs sponsors. To not play the regular number of home matches next season will likely cause the sponsors to reduce the budget for supporting the team. As well, the club will lack the opportunity to earn revenue from ticket sales and merchandise, which will further decrease the income and cause financial crisis.
The image of the Thai League will be disproportionately harmed. The SCG Stadium has never had any violence since the brawl between these two clubs in 2014, due to the higher security standards put in place and the hiring of 400 security staff to watch over every match. Our stadium has been accepted as being one of the safest in Thailand. Moreover, the violence that occurred following the match with Port F.C. did not happen at the stadium, but some distance away, in public areas, which was out of our control, nevertheless the club did the very best to contain the situation quickly.
Having viewed matters, MTUTD would like to make an appeal that this penalty should be reduced to the banning of three home matches, ending with the match with Army United on September 19, 2016. This means that the club will be forbidden to play at its own field for three games straight (including the BBCU FC match). Additionally, MTUTD will present a security plan to the committee for this consideration.
3.2 The club requests for appeal of 1.2.1, that SCG Muangthong United fans are not allowed to attend the remaining games hosted by the Football Association in the 2016 season and 2017 season. The matters for consideration are followed:
1) If it's the final match in which the club has the possibility to win the Toyota Thai League 2016, the audience should be allowed to attend the game to build the atmosphere, because the images of championship matches usually appear in the news media, both in Thailand and abroad. This will give a favourable image towards Thailand's football industry. The club will further propose preventative safety and security measures to the committee, in addition to the security plans mentioned in 3.1.
2) In the case of attending the final match of the season, please consider allowing the audience. Again, the atmosphere of the final match, filled with the fans, and appearing on all kinds of media is a tremendous benefit to the sponsors, and the image of Thailand's football industry will be honoured. Once again, the club is ready to establish strict preventative security measures and present them to the committee for consideration.
4). The following is the example of Bangkok Glass F.C., showing that the committee has punished SCG Muangthong United excessively when compared with past events:
4.1 EVENT #1 - The match between Bangkok Glass FC and Thai Port FC in the Thai League on October 24, 2010. The situation happened "on the pitch" of the Leo Stadium, Bangkok Glass F.C.'s home field. There were many injuries (including a head wound to the Bangkok Glass administrator), including much
property damage. The Football Association punished the clubs as follows:
1) They fined Bangkok Glass FC 100,000 baht and banned from hosting 3 games at the Leo stadium and their fans weren't allowed to attend the games either. 2) They fined Thai Port FC 133,000 baht and the fans weren't allowed to attend 4 games.
4.2 EVENT # 2 - The match between Bangkok Glass FC, and Buriram United, a semi-final League Cup game on September 26, 2012, the Bangkok Glass home stadium. The fan brawl that occurred was once again "on the pitch" and required secuity forces to use water cannon to contain the situation. The Football Association punished clubs as follows:
1) Bangkok Glass FC were fined 80,000 baht 2) Buriram United were fined 50,000 baht.
SCG Muangthong United has always sought to develop and improve the safety and security standards at Thai football matches, especially by removing hooligans. These preventative measures and more should continue to be employed in the future, and clubs should take the initiative to secure the safety of fans. Moreover, SCG Muangthong United supports appropriate cheering and sportsmanship, and takes a strongly negative view on fan violence. We believe that this kind of situation will never occur again, and we are determined to present to the world a favourable image of Thailand's professional football industry.
Your consideration and further implementation will be greatly appreciated. Faithfully yours,
Ronnarit Suewaja SCG Muangthong United General Director and Executive Director