Former Socceroos goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has slammed the pitch invasion during the A-League’s Melbourne Derby on Saturday night, calling it “the darkest day in football in Australia”.
“Our game is in tatters. An absolute shame what happened tonight,” Vukovic wrote on Twitter.
“I can’t believe we’re here after such an amazing (World Cup) and so much potential to see our game grow. Irreparable damage done.
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“The darkest day for football in Australia.”
As of Sunday morning, no arrests or charges had been made against any of the fans who ran onto the pitch in the 21st minute of the game as Melbourne City led 1-0.
City keeper Tom Glover was bleeding from a head wound that required stitches after being hit by a bucket filled with a retardant usually used to extinguish flares. The bucket also struck and injured referee Alex King.
Glover was treated at AAMI Park for a concussion before being taken to hospital.
Referee Alex King was also injured during the invasion, while a cameraman was injured by a flare. The match was eventually called off.
In other matches, fans stormed out of stadiums in the 20th minute to protest the Australian professional leagues’ decision to agree a three-year contract with the NSW government that would see the men’s and women’s A-League Grand Finals played in Sydney.
Socceroos Qatar World Cup star Craig Goodwin – who scored in Adelaide’s 3-1 loss to the Phoenix earlier on Saturday – called it “hugely disappointing”.
In a statement, the Melbourne Victory said it would work with police to undertake “a full investigation”.
In its own statement, the players’ association, Australian Professional Footballers, said the fans involved should face the harshest penalties possible.
“The PFA have met the players involved in tonight’s game and will continue to ensure they have the full support and resources of the PFA,” he said.
“We recognize the courage of the players, club staff and referees who have helped each other in circumstances that no one should ever be exposed to.”
Football Australia chief executive James Johnson will speak to the media on Sunday morning.
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