Sanctions imminent for Melbourne Victory over pitch violence

Show cause notice issued to Melbourne Victory

As Melbourne Victory braces for heavy sanctions from Football Australia over its fans’ violent derby pitch invasion, more alleged rioters have been arrested.

Points deductions, heavy fines and playing home games behind closed doors all appear on the table for Victory after about 150 spectators stormed the AAMI Park pitch in Saturday night’s A-League Men match against Melbourne City.

Sanctions are expected to be handed down on Friday.

City goalkeeper Tom Glover suffered a concussion and facial laceration when he was hit with a metal bucket wielded by a pitch invader, while referee Alex King, a TV cameraman and two security guards were also injured in the melee.

The game was abandoned and FA handed Victory a show cause notice as a result.

Tom Glover is escorted from the pitch after the violence erupted.

On Friday, Ticketek removed sales pages for Victory’s upcoming home fixtures against Brisbane Roar on January 6 and Sydney FC on January 26.

It is unclear how Western United’s home match against Victory, scheduled for AAMI Park on Boxing Day, may be affected. Victoria Police confirmed plans include “a highly visible police presence” at the game.

Victoria Police confirmed 29 people had so far been arrested over the pitch invasion, with 24 – including 11 men aged between 18 and 38 dealt with on Friday – so far facing charges.

Thirteen people were charged earlier in the week with offences such as violent disorder and assault.

Four men allegedly responsible for attacks on Glover, the cameraman and security guards have already been charged.

A total of 36 people have so far been identified by police.

FA has also handed out bans preventing the pitch invaders from attending or participating in football.

Two pitch invaders on Tuesday received life bans, while on Thursday another eight people were slapped with bans of between five and 20 years.

About $150,000 worth of damage was caused to AAMI Park during the pitch invasion and about 80 flares or fireworks were set off, police say.


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