Monday, February 6, 2023

Melbourne Victory hit with record FA sanctions after derby pitch invasion chaos

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Jan 2023


Melbourne Victory have been fined a record $550,000 by Football Australia following the pitch invasion that caused December’s A-League Melbourne derby to be abandoned.

A 10-point suspended deduction has also been imposed on the club, along with restrictions on fan attendance at games, with Victory found to have brought the game into disrepute.

The December 17 game saw flares thrown by both sets of fans during the opening quarter at AAMI Park. Trouble escalated when a flare hit a pitchside cameraman before exploding, with City keeper Tom Glover throwing two flares off the field, one of which landed in the stands.

Fans behind the goal stormed the pitch at that point, and Glover was hit in the face with a metal bucket, while referee Alex King was also struck, leading to the game being brought to an end.

More than 30 people have been charged by Victoria Police, with fans now barred from sitting behind the goals in the North End of AAMI Park for the rest of the season, and no areas at away grounds will be allocated to away supporters for the same duration.

Football Australia (FA) warned in a statement: “The suspended 10-point deduction – ending at the end of the 2025-26 Isuzu UTE A-League season – may be triggered for each instance of serious supporter misconduct during this term and the next three campaigns.”

FA said the derby game would resume on April 23 from the 22nd minute, the point at which it was abandoned, with City leading 1-0.

FA CEO James Johnson described the behaviour of the Victory fans who invaded the field as “inexcusable”, saying it meant the club “committed a serious breach of our rules and regulations”.

“The sanctions we have issued against Melbourne Victory are the heaviest in the A-League era,” Johnson said. “These sanctions are reflective of our desire to remove this behaviour, and those that perpetuate it, from our game.”

He added: “The field of play is sacred and the safety of our players and match officials is paramount. Those individuals that illegally entered the field of play, caused damage, and verbally and physically assaulted players and officials, crossed the line.

“We have worked closely with Victoria Police to identify these individuals and will continue to do so to ensure those that display anti-social and criminal behaviour at football events are not involved in our game in any way.”

Melbourne Victory said they would “comply with all sanctions handed down by FA”.


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