A-League Melbourne Derby pitch invasion
Football Australia bosses have not ruled out sanctions for Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, who was injured in Saturday evening’s pitch invasion during the A-League Melbourne derby against the Victory at AAMI Park.
Patrons swarmed onto the field after Glover returned fire into the crowd with a flare that had moments before been thrown at him.
Down the other end, Victory ‘keeper Paul Izzo was placing flares thrown at him off the field of play next to the goal.
READ MORE: Star slams ‘disgraceful’ A-League pitch invasion
READ MORE: Croatia claim ’emotional’ World Cup third place
READ MORE: The burning Warner question that needs an answer
Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said their investigation would start from the moment the first flare lands on the field.
“The moment that a flare entered the field is the moment … that triggers the whole events,” he said.
“We will be looking at it fairly and objectively and we’ll be moving swiftly on it.
“I don’t want to comment on the outcome … we need to go through the process. We are looking at the facts. We’ll look at it objectively and we will make a decision that we believe is in the overall best interests of the game.”
On Sunday evening, Victoria Police released images and called for anyone in the public with information to come forward.
“What we saw last night from those who chose to invade the pitch was shocking, disgraceful and lacked total respect for the game of football,” North-West Metro Region Specialist Operations Acting Superintendent Jason Goddard said.
“I’m a lover of the game and I actually feel sad about what I saw play out on the pitch last night. Along with thousands of supporters, Victoria Police condemn the behaviour.
“I was at the game and I’ve watched the vision of what happened a number of times and see the behaviour as disgusting. Detectives from our North West Metro Regional Crime Squad are working hard and I have no doubt we’ll be knocking on a few doors soon.”
The A-League is organised by the Australian Professional Leagues, under Football Australia who are the regulatory body.
The invasion was intended to only be a walkout at the 20-minute mark by fans in protest of the APL’s decision to enter into a three-year contract with the NSW government to host the A-League grand finals in Sydney.
Socceroos great Craig Foster said he was “appalled” by the scenes in Melbourne.
“My first reflection was what an incredible month it’s been for the game, and this is exactly what football doesn’t need,” he said on Weekend TODAY.
“These people have brought the whole game into disrepute and rightly – we’re talking millions of Australians – have condemned these actions.
“Being passionate is respecting the game and upholding the rules around it, respecting your fellow spectators and of course the players, all the rest. This is exactly what we don’t want here.
“No doubt Football Australia and everyone will be coming down extremely … in the hardest possible terms on these idiots.”
Johnson said he had been in touch with representatives from both FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). He said the issues seen in Melbourne were not unique to the sport in Australia.
“People that behave like this, I don’t call them fans and I will not call them fans.
“There’s no place in our sport for this type of behavior. And those that participated in it will be weeded out.
“That will give organisations like FIFA the confidence that when these things do happen, we’re a code and we’re a country that can deal with them quickly, swiftly and strongly.”
Melbourne Victory managing director Caroline Keats said the club had “no inkling” the invasion was set to happen.
“Our understanding of what was going to happen last night was what happened at every other elite game at the 20-minute mark – the fans were going to exit the stadium,” she said.
“We had no reason to believe anything different that (would occur), and we’re devastated that something different did occur.”
Keats said she was at a loss to explain why Victory fans were so often at the focus of poor behavior.
“We’ve tried to work with our fans in a number of different ways to make sure they can be here to support the club, and do it in the right way,” she said.
“I think last night shows us we’ve come to a point in time where what we’ve been doing hasn’t been as successful as we would like and we just can’t condone what has gone on.
“Melbourne Victory has over 23,000 members and a lot of fans that sit behind that as well. And this is a group of them … we don’t want at our club.”
Two more matches are scheduled for AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon – a men’s match between Western United and the Western Sydney Wanderers, and a women’s clash between the Victory and the Newcastle Jets.
Johnson said there were no security risks to fans attending either match.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
#ALeague #Melbourne #Derby #pitch #invasion