Australia club Melbourne Victory were hit yesterday with an A-League record Aus$550,000 (US$380,000) fine and the threat of a 10-point deduction over a violent pitch invasion that left a goalkeeper injured.
The punishment stems from a derby match between Victory and Melbourne City last month that was abandoned after shocking scenes when football fans stormed the field.
One Victory supporter grabbed a metal bucket full of sand and threw it into the face of City goalkeeper Tom Glover, who sustained a bad gash and concussion.
The referee and a television cameraman were also hurt.
Football Australia responded with the fine and suspended points deduction, which can be triggered for any instance of serious supporter misconduct until the end of the 2025-26 season.
The governing body’s chief executive James Johnson described the scenes as the worst ever witnessed in the sport in the country.
“Football Australia has found that the Melbourne Victory Football Club, through the inexcusable conduct of many individuals… has committed a serious breach of our rules and regulations,” he said.
“The sanctions we have issued against Melbourne Victory are the heaviest in the A-League era. These sanctions are reflective of our desire to remove this behaviour, and those that perpetuate it, from our game.
“They also form part of a broader response to this incident which has seen 17 bans issued against individuals to date, including three lifetime bans,” he added.
Other sanctions include some seating at AAMI Park in Melbourne being off-limits for the rest of this season while Victory fans will not be given allocated seating at away matches.
The club said in a statement it would comply with the FA order and was working to ensure “matches moving forward will be a safe environment for players, fans and everyone involved.”
“The club would like to reiterate that the actions witnessed at the Melbourne derby in December have no place in football and the club has zero tolerance for any aggressive or anti-social behaviour,” it added.
The match, which was called off in the first half with City leading 1-0, will be continued in April from the 22-minute mark with their advantage intact. —AFP