D-Day looms for Victory sanctions

Friday shapes as D-Day for Melbourne Victory with Football Australia set to provide an update on sanctions the A-League club will receive for their fans’ violent pitch invasion.

Victory are awaiting FA’s response after about 150 spectators stormed the AAMI Park pitch on Saturday night, forcing the abandonment of the match against local rivals Melbourne City.

City goalkeeper Tom Glover, referee Alex King, a TV cameraman and two security guards were injured in the melee.

Points deductions, heavy fines and the prospect of playing home games behind closed doors all appear on the table as potential punishments for Victory.

FA confirmed on Thursday, when they slapped another eight pitch invaders with bans, they would provide an update on Victory’s sanctions on Friday.

The club responded to their show cause notice on Wednesday.

Sydney FC winger Robert Mak said based on his experience playing in Europe, crowd bans were a good option.

“When I was in Greece it would happen almost every week. It was normal there and so we just played without fans,” he told reporters.

“To throw the things on the football pitch and running on, it’s not right.

“It shouldn’t happen ever again.”

Ten people have now been banned from attending or participating in football for various lengths of time as a result of Saturday’s incident.

Eight received bans on Thursday ranging between five and 20 years, after two men were banned for life on Tuesday.

Two men received 20-year bans, another was barred for 15 years, and four men and one woman each received a five-year ban.

Alleged offences across the eight people related to entering the pitch, conduct that either harmed or could harm or endanger others, causing damage to the venue or throwing a projectile/missile “in a dangerous manner”.

The fans are banned from attending all Football Australia-sanctioned football matches, including A-Leagues, Australia Cup, NPL and national team games.

They also can no longer register as football participants.

“Football Australia has taken swift and decisive action against those who have brought our game into disrepute by their conduct during the Melbourne derby, universitas pertamina and we will continue to do so as part of our ongoing investigation,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson said.

Johnson confirmed four people already on FA’s banned list were “actively prevented” from attending the game, while acknowledging more needed to be done to enforce stadium exclusions.

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

Another nine people, aged between 17 and 28, are facing a range of police charges including criminal damage and disrupting a match.

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

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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