While Melbourne Victory prepare to receive sanctions for their fans’ violent pitch invasion, fellow A-Leagues clubs are bracing for any flow-on effects from Australian football’s dark night.
Victory have until 9am AEDT on Wednesday to show FA why they “should not face serious sanctions for bringing the game into disrepute” after their active fans stormed the AAMI Park pitch on Saturday night, forcing the abandonment of the A-League Men derby clash with Melbourne City.
City goalkeeper Tom Glover was hit by a metal bucket wielded by a pitch invader and referee Alex King was also injured, while a television cameraman was hurt when struck by a flare.
Three men were charged on Monday but Victoria Police are still seeking to identify 10 people also allegedly involved in the pitch invasion.
Officers on Tuesday re-shared pictures of those they want to interview.
FA has made it clear it will dish out tough sanctions, with points deductions, fines and forcing Victory to play behind closed doors all options on the table, while individual perpetrators face long bans.
The game’s governing body also needs to decide whether the result of Saturday’s derby will stand – City were leading 1-0 before the match was abandoned.
The proximity to Victory’s next game – away to Western United at AAMI Park on Boxing Day – may mean FA hands out interim sanctions in the short-term.
Victory previously received a show-cause notice, then later a $5000 fine, for fans’ homophobic abuse of Adelaide United midfielder Josh Cavallo in February.
Western United would have pencilled in the December 26 clashas a crucial earner for the club, given Victory’s large supporter base.
If Victory receive home crowd bans, it technically would not affect United’s games but FA could be keen to deter Victory fans from attending.
United were contacted by AAP but were awaiting the outcome of the FA show cause notice process before commenting.
As of Tuesday, ticket sales in the away end remained open for the Boxing Day match.
Meanwhile, Sydney FC take on Macarthur FC on Christmas eve in their first home game since the controversial decision to sell the grand final hosting rights to the NSW government for the next three years.
The Cove supporters group boycotted last weekend’s trip to Central Coast but Sydney chief executive Adam Santo highlighted the Sky Blues’ strong behavioural record and did not anticipate any further incidences of crowd trouble.
“Our fans protested in a peaceful manner and that’s quite consistent with what we would expect here in Sydney,” he told AAP.
“It’s never happened here in Sydney, so people shouldn’t feel as though that’s something that will take place.
“I think fans should feel comfortable and safe in coming to the game.”