Australian club get record fine …for violent pitch invasion

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

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