Melbourne derby abandoned after violent pitch invasion

Australian A-League club Melbourne Victory have issued a formal apology after a surprise pitch invasion forced fans to abandon their clash with local rivals Melbourne City, saying it was “disturbing”. to “strong sanctions.”

Both City and Victory fans began planning a 20th-minute joint walkout to protest the Australian Professional League’s (APL) decision to sell the rights to host the league’s men’s and women’s grand finals to Sydney for the next three years. Before they made their exit, one was seen throwing flares on the AMI Park playing surface and punching a camera operator for broadcaster Network Ten.

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The fans had already set off bonfires and small fireworks in the previous 20 minutes, with City fans hurling several projectiles onto the pitch in celebration of Aiden O’Neill’s 11th-minute opener.

The missiles that were thrown in the 20th minute, but the city’s goalkeeper, Tom Glover, who landed outside the field, threw the fight on the field and started the sudden event that returned to the victory. This brought many fans onto the pitch, reminiscent of the 2021 clash between Nice and Marseille.

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As fans gathered at the scene, Glover was hit on the head with a metal bucket filled with sand, which was thrown in his direction to extinguish the flames. He was rushed off the field by his teammates with blood coming from the side of his head.

Umpire Alex King was gashed on the head by a thrown bucket, and the game’s umpire coach was pushed into the fence. A Football Australia spokeswoman said King was “concussed rather than hurt” and he and his teammates were quietly escorted out of the stadium to their cars.

City officials said Glover needed stitches and had a suspected concussion after the incident.

The victory said in a statement that it was very disappointed by the action and that it unequivocally condemns the actions of the fans who entered the field.

“The club would like to apologize to Tom Glover, the match official, Alex King and the camera operator, as well as all players, officials and those who witnessed the appalling behaviour,” he said.

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As the invasion of the field continued, both the players’ group and the coaching staff as well as the match officials quickly left the field. The fans who remained on the surface turned their attention to the sponsor boards and the goals before being escorted off the pitch by members of the Victoria Police Public Order Response Team.

After a long delay, the game was abandoned to ensure the safety of the players, the first time an A-Leagues game has been abandoned for such a reason.

Victoria Police said in a statement that around 150-200 Victory fans descended on the field, and confirmed the injuries to Glover and King, as well as the injuries to a Network Ten cameraman when he was hit by fire.

Police say no arrests have been made at this stage but the investigation is ongoing.

Melbourne Victory fans should face heavy fines for assaulting players, members of matchday broadcasters, the players’ union Professional Footballers Australia has said.

We recognize the courage of the players, club staff and referees who came to support each other in a situation no one should have to face.

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Protests against the APL’s decision have already taken place at the weekend’s A-League Men’s and A-League Women’s matches, but all have been peaceful in nature.

Socceroo goalkeeper Dani Vukovic, who was a member of the team that went past the round of 16 in the World Cup in Qatar He said on social media In terms of events, Australian football was having a “dark day”.

The A-Leagues are run separately from Australian Football, but the national federation acts as the game’s regulator and enforces the national code of conduct and referees. That means they will lead the investigation and result in sanctions from conflict raids. CEO James Johnson is due to address the media on Sunday morning.

“Such behavior has no place in Australian football and a full Football Australia investigation will commence immediately,” the federation’s statement said.

Speaking to ESPN, a Football Australia official confirmed the organization would use the “full force” of its regulatory and disciplinary powers over the incident and members of the public had already come forward to assist them and Victoria Police in their investigation.


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