Eureka flag banned at A-League matches

October 26, 2008

Melbourne Victory supporters have been banned from flying the Eureka flag at A-League matches because it is considered to be a political symbol under the league's regulations.

Descendants of the Eureka Stockade oppose the move but the Football Federation of Australia has forced Melbourne Victory to tell its supporters the flag is banned because it is a political symbol, Fairfax newspapers reported.

Fans with the flag will be ejected from Docklands Stadium and will have their flags confiscated, Fairfax said.

Victory supporters have displayed the standard, first flown by rebel goldminers at the Eureka Stockade in Ballarat in 1854, since the club's inception.

"The Eureka flag was actually the first emblem of the first Victory supporters' group. We've had the Eureka flag at our games since day dot, and all of a sudden it's got political connotations and we can't fly it," said Blue and White Brigade supporters' group leader Adam Tennenini.

Mr Tennenini said security guards at Saturday's game against Sydney FC at Docklands told him anyone with a flag would be banned from the next home game on November 21, but supporters planned to defy the ban.

Victory chief executive Geoff Miles said the club backed supporters.

"We believe that the flying of Eureka flags really isn't adversely affecting, polarising or disenfranchising our supporters or opposition supporters," Mr Miles said.

The Eureka flag has been used by many political groups since the rebellion, but the flag was now listed as an object of state significance on the Victorian Heritage Register and was named an icon by the National Trust in 2006, Fairfax said.

Paul Murphy, founder of Eureka's Children, a group consisting of descendents of Eureka, said the flag was a symbol of unity.

"Whenever you see the flag, whether it's farmers in Mildura, soccer fans or on building sites, it simply means, 'I'm pissed off with whoever's in charge'," Mr Murphy said.

"It's an act of free expression and I would encourage those supporters to fly it as an act of defiance, with the best wishes of the Eureka descendants."