Football Australia vows to swiftly take harsh sanctions after Saturday’s A-League match between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City was abandoned after fans attacked Tom Glover, City goalkeeper.
A fan threw a bucket of metal with white substances at Glover. He was then taken from the field, dazed and bleeding.
Alex King, match referee, was also hurt in that incident. A flare from the stands also caused injury to a TV cameraman.
James Johnson, chief executive of FA, told reporters that the FA will move quickly and will take all sanctions available. This is an evil element beyond football. This is an element that invades the game, and that really tries to destroy it for two million fans.
“It is those people we will target in this investigation, and we will weed them out of the sport.”
Johnson stated that Victory would be served with a Show Cause Notice and FA will also consider the result of the match. City was leading 1-0 just 20 minutes into the match at AAMI Stadium. This happened when Melbourne Victory fans rushed to the pitch. Officials stopped the match and abandoned it a few minutes later.
Although no arrests have been made by the Victoria police, a probe is underway. Pitch invaders could face lifetime bans.
The match started in tension with both teams of supporters planning to quit at 20 minutes. This was to protest against the Australian Professional Leagues which recently gave Sydney the three Grand Final matches as part of an agreement with the New South Wales government.
After the previous A-League Women’s match ended, both sets of supporters began to chant derogatory remarks. Victory and City supporters also displayed banners in protest at the APL’s decision to end the championship matches.
The two sets of fans were throwing flares onto the field, but it escalated after a flare hit a TV cameraman. Glover then grabbed another flare from the ground and returned it to the stands.
The pitch was rushed by fans and Glover was hit with the bucket made of metal, which can be used to dispose off flares. Glover began bleeding and had to be removed from the pitch along with other players.
Later, team officials stated that Glover had been stitched to his head at the ground and was taken to hospital. He has since been released from any further injuries.
Caroline Carnegie, Melbourne Victory’s managing director, said that the club was ‘devastated by’ the incident.
Carnegie said that he was disgraced by the events of last night and felt appalled. We’ve worked with our supporters in many different ways so that they could support the club in the best way.
“I believe last night showed us that our efforts have not been as fruitful as we would like. We can’t accept what happened.”
Victory may face points or a financial penalty, or even fans being locked out of venues. Johnson wouldn’t be drawn on the sanctions Football Australia will give to Victory before the investigation is over.
This incident occurred two weeks after Australia reached the round of 16 at Qatar’s World Cup. It lost 2-1 to Argentina in the final match.
Craig Goodwin and Danny Vukovic, Socceroos World Cup players, expressed dismay via Twitter.
“Extremely disappointing. Goodwin stated that regardless of the outcome, it isn’t the right way to react.
Vukovic stated that the game was in disarray and “our game is in tatters… it’s an absolute shame what happened tonight.” Irreparable damage done. The darkest day of football in Australia.