Football Australia takes action against Victory as pitch invaders identified
Melbourne Victory have been hit with a 'show cause' notice by Football Australia after fans invaded the pitch on Saturday night and assaulted Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover. The Victory are facing the prospect of a points deduction and playing games behind closed doors after the atrocious scenes.
The match was abandoned after spectators stormed the field and attacked Glover after he tossed a flare into the stands that had found its way onto the field. Glover was left with a cut on his face after being hit with a metal bucket, while referee Alex King and a Network 10 cameraman were also injured in the chaos.
'CAN'T DO THAT': Lionel Messi caught in 'disgraceful' moment
'DIDN'T EXPECT THAT': Messi makes bombshell announcement
It came after a week of outrage in Australian football after the men's and women's A-League grand finals were sold to Sydney for the next three years. Fans were expected to stage protests and walk-outs at last weekend's games, but not invade the pitch and turn violent.
On Monday, Football Australia officially slapped the Victory with a show cause notice. FA gave the club until 9am AEDT on Wednesday to show why they "should not face serious sanctions for bringing the game into disrepute through the conduct of its supporters".
FA said the possible sanctions could include "financial penalties, loss of competition points and/or playing matches behind closed doors, or on neutral territory". FA chief executive James Johnson said in a statement: "As we made clear on Saturday evening following the abandonment of the match, we will move quickly to properly investigate this matter and where appropriate, issue the strongest possible sanctions to the club and individuals involved. The show cause notice following our initial investigations is the next step in the process and will allow us to gather more crucial information."
The pitch invaders appear likely to receive lifetime bans. As of Sunday, two men had been identified after coming forward to police.
"This is a small group of perpetrators that don't love football, that don't love the A-League and that don't love Melbourne Victory," A-Leagues boss Danny Townsend told Channel 7 program Sunrise. "We've got to weed them out and we've got to make sure that what happened on Saturday night never happens again
"It was disgraceful. It was a small group of individuals that used the Melbourne derby as a platform to demonstrate anti-social and illegal behaviour. It wasn't just an assault on a player or an official or a cameraman, it was an assault on the football family."
Two men come forward to police
Police released images of nine men on Sunday night, showing one holding a bucket of sand, another holding a lit flare in the stands and another hanging from a goal post. Two of them have since come forward.
"Investigations remain ongoing," Victoria Police said in a statement on Sunday evening. No arrests have been made so far.
Earlier on Sunday, Victoria Police Acting Superintendent Jason Goddard branded the behaviour of the alleged pitch invaders as "disgraceful". He said: "I myself, I love my football, I am very saddened by what I saw."
Acting Superintendent Goddard said 134 police were present at AAMI Park for the game. He said it was more than they would usually have, even at a larger venue like the MCG.
"That should be enough for any game," he said. "We knew there were inherent risks due to some of the fan behaviour in previous weeks."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.