Melbourne Victory fined over violent soccer pitch invasion

Sydney, Australia, Jan 10 (EFE).- Football Australia, the body that governs soccer in the country, imposed fines and harsh sanctions Tuesday against Melbourne Victory for the violent invasion of the field in December by its followers, leaving four injured, including a player.

The highest authority of Australian soccer said in a statement that the financial sanctions amount to a total of AUD 550,000 Australian ($ 380,000), including fines, damages and loss of income.

In addition, Victory will have to close both back stands for the rest of the season, occupied by its most radical fans, and from where some 150 supporters invaded the pitch on Dec. 17 in the 22nd minute during a match against Melbourne City, which was the home team as both sides share a stadium.

The onslaught from violent supporters left four injured, including City goalkeeper Tom Glover, hit with a metal bucket, gashing his right cheek.

Victory fans will also be banned from attending away matches and the club received a suspended sanction that would mean the loss of 10 points to the team in the event of a similar incident being repeated during the next three seasons.

“The sanctions issued against Melbourne Victory are the harshest in the A-League era. These sanctions reflect our desire to eliminate this (violent) behavior, and those who perpetuate it, from our game,” Australian soccer chief executive Australian James Johnson said.

The agency also said 17 fans – three of them for life – have previously been prohibited from participating in any event related to the sport, even as attendees, due to their involvement in the events.

“The field of play is sacred and the safety of our players and referees is paramount,” Johnson said, adding that they have worked closely with police “to ensure those who display criminal behavior at football events are not involved in our game in any way.”

For its part, the Victoria state police, whose capital is Melbourne, have filed charges against 13 people, aged between 17 and 28, for crimes of disturbing public order, violent disorder and interrupting a match, among others.

The derby between the two Melbourne teams, suspended as a result of the pitch invasion, must be resumed in April from the minute the incident occurred and the provisional result of 1-0 will be maintained, in favor of City, Football Australia said. EFE


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