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 By AAP

A-League explores providing flares, smoke machines to fan groups

The Football Federation Australia (FFA) is reportedly planning to supply fan groups with legal pyrotechnics and safe smoke-emitting machines in order to reset their relationship with supporter groups.

Fairfax Media reported the FFA still plans to ban the lighting of flares inside A-League grounds, but it wants to help fan groups get access to safe pyrotechnics so they can be used in a responsible way.

A-League boss Greg O'Rourke is negotiating with authorities to allow the move.

"Safe smoke is not the panacea but it will just be one part of the picture to enhance the match-day colour," O'Rourke said. "It's clear that we have to do some relationship-building between the clubs, the fans and the FFA and we're looking to engage on that with any of those fan groups that wish to do so."

Fans set off flares during the Sydney derby on Feb. 25.

O'Rourke wants the A-League's match-day vibrancy to return, saying it's an advantage soccer has over the other football codes.

"We need to get that atmosphere back again," O'Rourke said. "We have lost a bit of that and we have lost it for a lot of reasons. ... It's the singing, chanting, the rhythm of the game that's the point of difference that our game can bring, and people come to the venue knowing that they're going to experience not only the game but all the entertainment of the crowd."

The issue returned again last week when the FFA handed Western Sydney Wanderers a suspended three-point deduction as punishment for fans who lit flares during the Sydney derby at Allianz Stadium on Feb. 25.

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