Melbourne Victory's first sanctions confirmed after fans' derby pitch invasion

By Sports Desk December 23, 2022

Melbourne Victory have been hit with a range of attendance-related sanctions following their fans' pitch invasion during Saturday's Melbourne derby, though more penalties are to come.

Football Australia's (FA) sanctioning of the club began on Friday with the announcement of restrictions over attendances at all Victory games until January 15 inclusive.

The club will be unable to sell tickets, with only members able to attend the matches.

Additionally, the "active supporter bays" at both ends of AAMI Park are to be shut, and Victory fans will be unable to attend away games unless they appear on a pre-approved FA list of individuals who can qualify for complimentary tickets, though there will only be 1,000 of those available.

Even more significant punishments are still expected to be dished out to Victory, however, with FA adding "no determination regarding the final sanctions" had been made yet, with potential fines or points deductions reportedly on the table.

But FA hoped the imposition of initial punishments would give peace of mind to stakeholders in the short term.

A statement read: "As part of Football Australia's ongoing investigation into the events that unfolded during the A-League Men's match between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday, December 17, the governing body has [Friday] confirmed that a number of sanctions are being imposed on Melbourne Victory FC for their continued participation in the A-League Men's competition whilst the show cause process continues.

"As the regulator of the A-Leagues, Football Australia considers these sanctions are necessary to give immediate confidence to the fans and participants in this interim period."

The A-League clash between Victory and Melbourne City saw flares thrown by both sets of fans during the opening quarter of the contest at AAMI Park.

Trouble escalated when a flare appeared to hit a pitchside cameraman before exploding, with City goalkeeper Tom Glover throwing another flare back into the crowd.

Fans behind the goal stormed the pitch and Glover was hit in the face with a metal bucket, while referee Alex King was also struck, leading to the game being brought to an end.

Three men were charged for attacking Glover, and FA chief James Johnson vowed to impose the "harshest of punishments" in response.

Johnson is confident FA's action on Friday will help to prevent a repeat ever occurring.

He added: "These sanctions come into immediate effect starting with Melbourne Victory's A-League Men's match on Boxing Day away to Western United, and follow the sanctions issued against individuals earlier this week as part of a package of sanctions in response to the incidents witnessed at the Melbourne derby last weekend.

"These measures are an essential step for Football Australia, as it considers further sporting and financial sanctions that may apply to Melbourne Victory in the show cause determination process.

"Football Australia does not wish to penalise football fans during this time; however, our priority is to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone within the venue on match days and that any unacceptable behaviour by spectators are not repeated at any football match or event ever again. We believe these measures will achieve this."

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