Macarthur Bulls fans are in uproar after the new club’s active fan group name “Macarthur Bullpen” was registered by the club’s holding company.
The move has stunned some foundation members who see it as a breach of trust and a way for the club to control the active supporters.
It is believed no other active fan group among the 11 other A-League clubs are owned or controlled by their clubs, although the FFA did trademark the RBB's We Sing For Wanderers chant.
Furious fans fear the club move will deny them the chance to voice their passions and feelings independently.
The row is the latest rift between fans and the club, and comes less three weeks out from the start of the season.
The Bulls' introduction to the league was initially met enthusiastically by football fans in Sydney's south-west, with the Bullpen forming soon after the licence was granted in December 2018.
However things turned pear shaped when the club announced the price for a Bullpen membership of $440, considerably more expensive than a general admission membership.
The club added fuel to the fire when they then moved the active supporter group area.
The Bullpen was originally situated behind the Southern goals at Campbelltown Stadium, but have since been moved to the Western Sideline in Bay 1.
The club explained in correspondence to members that it was partly due to policing restrictions and also due to general admission seating demand being higher than expected.
The club eventually refunded $120 to Bullpen members as a sign of goodwill to make up for the move.
Despite this, some current Bullpen members have expressed their dismay at what they see as unfair treatment from the club.
“When I first saw the active support membership prices, myself and my 10 other mates who were all keen to go and support this club chose a cheaper option because the prices just did not make sense,” said a Bulls member who wished to remain anonymous.
“To now hear that those supporters who did buy those memberships are getting shafted is a disgrace to a “community” orientated football club.
“MFC management should be ashamed, without these fans there is no atmosphere and therefore no MFC."
Another member was equally disappointed.
“I had huge hopes for this club and can see where they are going wrong. Thought the league would have learned by now that you need to treat the fans properly and let them provide the atmosphere.
“A league at it's best is when active is at it's best.”
Not everyone though is upset, with many prepared to give the club time to sort out teething issues which they feel is a normal part of a new club starting.
Adam, a Bulls foundation member was pragmatic.
“Any new club starting out is going to struggle initially. They will make mistakes and learn from it. Throw COVID19 into the mix and Macarthur are actually facing a challenge that most new clubs haven’t had to deal with.
“I am confident they will come good.”
A statement from the Bulls on the row defended the decision and added: “The club is of the opinion that the Bullpen, an important part of the club, should adhere to normal regulatory standards as required by NSW Fair Trading.0
"In particular, the Bullpen needs to have a constitution, with normalised elections and any proceeds from merchandise and fundraising should go to the incorporated Bullpen entity not an individual bank account.”