Legal

Further bans handed out following A-League pitch invasion

Featured image credit: Paladisious/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size

Featured image credit: Paladisious/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size

Football Australia has issued a further eight bans to fans as part of its ongoing investigation into a pitch invasion during last weekend’s Melbourne derby which led to a player and the referee being injured.

Three men were initially charged after the incident during the match between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. The match was abandoned after 22 minutes with City, the home side, 1-0 up after Victory fans entered the field of play and assaulted home goalkeeper Tom Glover.

Footage of the pitch invasion showed Glover being hit by a metal bucket that was allegedly thrown by a Victory supporter. He suffered a concussion and severe lacerations to the face.

Bans have now been handed out for eight supporters ranging from 18 years old to 28 years old. The bans span five to 20 years and are effective immediately, with supporters to be precluded from all related football activity.

The eight people have been sanctioned by Football Australia on a variety of violations, including entering the field of play without authorisation, engaging in conduct that did or was likely to cause harm or endanger others, engaging in conduct that did or was likely to cause unlawful damage to the venue or the various forms of infrastructure within the venue, and throwing a projective and/or missile in a dangerous manner.

Since the abandonment of the match, Victoria Police announced that these eight people are subject to a range of charges. Today’s (Thursday’s) announcement by Football Australia brings the total number of bans issued by the governing body to 10 after two lifetime bans were handed out earlier this week.

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said: “As promised to the Australian football community of over two million participants and the wider public, Football Australia has taken swift and decisive action against those who have brought our game into disrepute by their conduct during the Melbourne derby, and we will continue to do so as part of our ongoing investigation.”

Around A$120,000 (£67,000/€76,000/$80,000) of damage was caused to AAMI Park, with around 50 flares allegedly lit in the stands. At least three of these flares were thrown on to the pitch, and Victoria Police said that more than 150 fans entered the playing area.

Following the incident, Football Australia issued a show cause notice to Victory. The club had been given until 9am AEDT yesterday to show cause why it should not face “serious sanctions” for bringing the game into disrepute through the conduct of its supporters, and an update is set to be provided by Football Australia tomorrow.

Supporters had been protesting during the game to show their disapproval at the decision to take A-League grand finals to Sydney from 2023.

The move was met with opposition from fans, with Victory supporters group Original Style Melbourne urging a stadium walkout prior to Saturday’s derby match. The walkout had been planned for the 20-minute mark but the situation escalated after flares were thrown on to the pitch.