Football Australia response to Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City match, fans storm pitch, bans, penalties, Tom Glover hit with bucket, video, abandoned, James Johnson, latest
Football Australia boss James Johnson has vowed that Melbourne Victory fans responsible for one of the most shameful nights in the history of Australian football will be severely dealt with.
Saturday night’s Melbourne derby at AAMI Park was abandoned for safety reasons after Melbourne City goalkeeper Thomas Glover and referee Alex King were both assaulted by Victory fans who invaded the pitch after 20 minutes.
What was originally planned to be a walkout by active supporter groups from both the Victory and City in protest to the decision to sell the A-League grand final to Sydney turned nasty and dangerous when Victory fans let off flares behind the City goal and threw them onto the field.
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Glover seemed to throw one of the flares back towards the Victory fans. Seconds later, Victory fans stormed the pitch, with one hitting Glover in the face with a bin.
Glover was rushed off the field with a cut face, while referee King was also hit in the face.
Play did not resume, with King calling off the match less than half an hour later after consulting with FA officials.
FA chief executive officer Johnson said an investigation into the matter would be opened and that the culprits would be harshly dealt with.
Lifetime bans are likely for some Victory supporters.
“It was disgusting behaviour and disgraceful scenes,” an angry and disappointed Johnson told News Corp Australia.
“A full investigation will take place and those responsible will face the harshest of punishments.”
FA later issued a statement, saying the match was abandoned “in accordance with Law 5.3 of the Laws of the Game in order to protect the integrity of the match.”
“Such behaviour has no place in Australian football, with a full Football Australia investigation to commence immediately, where strong sanctions (will) be handed down,” the statement said.
Melbourne Victory has condemned fabs of the club that invaded the pitch in Saturday night’s Melbourne derby and assaulted Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, referee Alex King and a cameraman.
In a statement posted a few hours after the abandonment of the match for safety reasons, the Victory said it was “devastated” and apologised to Glover, King and the cameraman.
“The club unequivocally condemns the actions of fans at Saturday night’s match against Melbourne City at AAMI Park,” the Victory statement said.
“The actions that occurred, that saw spectators enter the pitch and injure a Melbourne City FC player, an official and a Network Ten cameraman, are not acceptable under any circumstance and have no place in football.
“The security and welfare of everyone involved in a football match is paramount and the club will not accept this behaviour.
“The club would like to formally apologise to Tom Glover, match official Alex King and the camera operator as well as all players, officials and those who witnessed the appalling behaviour.
“Melbourne Victory would like to reiterate there is no place in football for what was witnessed tonight”
The Victory said the conduct would not be “tolerated”, and that the club, AAMI Park officials and Victoria Police would undertake a full investigation into the incident.
Players’ union Professional Football Australia have called for the “strongest possible sanctions” to be slapped on the Melbourne Victory fans responsible for assaulting Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, referee Alex King and a member of the broadcast staff.
“The PFA has met with the players involved in tonight’s match and will continue to ensure they are provided with the full support and resources of the PFA,” a PFA statement said.
“We acknowledge the courage of players, club staff and referees who came to the aid of each other in circumstances that no one should ever be exposed to.”
Socceroos great Robbie Slater was unsure how Australian football would recover from its night of shame.
“This was supposed to be a time when we were celebrating the wonderful achievements of our Socceroos at the World Cup, and now this has happened,” a saddened Slater said.
“I don’t know how we recover from this. How did it come to this? This could be the start of a slow death for the game.
“There should have just been a walkout, not an invasion of the pitch, the flares and the assaults.”
While not condoning the incident, Slater said the situation could have been avoided had the Australian Professional Leagues board not made the decision to sell A-League grand finals to Sydney for the next three years.
“There’s no excuse for what the fans have done there, but this would never have arisen if what happened during the week with the grand finals hadn’t have happened,” Slater said.
“The APL can’t take the blame for idiots invading the pitch but they only invaded the pitch because of the current (grand final) situation, which needs to be investigated.
“The lack of transparency and consultation in their decision has led to this.”
Socceroos’ World Cup hero Craig Goodwin has described the violence that forced the abandonment of the Melbourne derby as “heartbreaking”.
Goodwin had been one of the prominent voices opposed to the Australian Professional Leagues board decision to sell the A-League grand final to Sydney for the next three years.
Walkouts during matches this weekend had been planned by clubs’ active supporters groups in protest to the decision.
However, on a night of shame for Australian football, Melbourne Victory fans threw flares and invaded the pitch at AAMI Park, with Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover and referee Alex King assaulted.
“Extremely disappointing. Regardless of what has happened, this is not the way to respond and only gives the game a bad look.,” Goodwin tweeted.
“What’s most frustrating is that this is a time where the football community has to stick together and it’s heartbreaking to see what’s just happened.”
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