Football Australia pledges to ‘eliminate’ fans who stormed the pitch during A-League derby in Melbourne | Men’s A-League

A ‘horrified, irate and angry’ James Johnson, the chief executive of Football Australia, has vowed swift action to identify and punish those responsible for the violence that engulfed the men’s A-League derby in Melbourne on Saturday, plunging the game in Australia in chaos. .

The FA have been in contact with Victoria Police, state and federal governments and Australian professional leagues, after Victory fans stormed the pitch at AAMI Park and caused the match to be abandoned in the middle of shocking scenes that injured a player, a match official and a cameraman.

Victory will receive a show cause notice from the FA to explain the actions of their club’s supporters as part of a three-part investigation into the incident.

“We will act quickly and take the toughest penalties available,” Johnson said Sunday.

“We are considering three [lines] of investigation. The first is what happened with the game last night, what’s happening with the result. The second will be a show cause letter from Melbourne Victory – which will be received as soon as possible, but we will not be closing the door on a show cause letter to City at this time.

“The third focus of the investigation will be against the individuals we seek to name, identify and sanction.”

Johnson said the FA would seek to “eliminate” the small element that is “infiltrating our game and trying to ruin it for the people who love it”.

“This pitch invasion, and I want to be clear about this, has nothing to do with a groundswell and the rise of our game,” Johnson said. “A parent who takes a child to grassroots football in Brisbane, or a young boy who plays in our league lanes in Perth, or the 40-year-old woman who plays amateur football in Sydney, or the fans who protested peacefully in Central Coast Mariners, the Wellington game, the Newcastle game, all the 2 million people across sport who love and support our game – it’s not about them, nothing to do with the 2 million people who love and support our game week in and week out.”

Thomas Glover – the City goalkeeper who needed stitches to close a wound caused by a metal bucket hitting his head – will not be immediately investigated by the FA for his part in the incident. Glover launched a flare which landed on the pitch in the stands containing active Victory supporters, appearing to trigger the pitch invasion.

“Tommy is in the hospital and we are focused on his health,” Johnson said.

Very sad day for football in Australia. Hope all the boys and officials are doing well ❤️ Hope all the fans who went out to support our beautiful game made it home safe and sound.

—Sam Kerr (@samkerr1) December 17, 2022

The ugly scenes came just two weeks after the Socceroos pulled out of the World Cup after a successful run to the last 16 of the tournament in Qatar captured the nation’s imagination, and with seven months to go the Women’s World Cup. at home in Australia and New Zealand.

Johnson said he was not overly concerned about any impact on the Women’s World Cup but had already been in contact with Fifa and the AFC over the incident.

“These things happen and they’re not Australian Rules football specific,” Johnson said. “What is important is our response. Our answer is very simple: there is no place in our sport for this type of behavior and those who have participated in this behavior will be eliminated. This will give confidence to Fifa.

Johnson said he did not consider the people who disrupted Saturday’s game to be fans and was trying to distinguish between them and the millions of real supporters of the game.

“This question doesn’t reflect the larger game,” he said. “We saw in Melbourne, in Federation Square, thousands and thousands of great football fans coming together to support the Socceroos. We have seen this in other cities in Australia. They are fans and they cannot be branded or painted with the same brush as those individuals who invaded the pitch last night. They are two distinct groups. »

Victorians are well known for their love of sport – and for enjoying it safely and with respect.

The shameful actions of some in last night’s A-League game have no place in our sports community – and not in our state.

—Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) December 17, 2022

Melbourne Victory chief executive Caroline Carnegie on Saturday said she was “disgraced and appalled” by the events.

“This is a group whose behavior we don’t tolerate and who we don’t want in our club,” she said. “But there are a lot of Melbourne Victory fans and members doing the right thing, and they are showing up and supporting the boys and the girls, and we are one with those fans.

Carnegie added that the officials “are not true Melbourne Victory fans because if they were they would not have harmed the game, the league or the sport last night”.

Victory will work with police in any investigation into Saturday’s events.


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