The Melbourne derby between FC and Victory in the A-League has been suspended after fans stormed the pitch midway through the first half. The riot started when both sides began throwing smoke bombs onto the pitch, some of which hit referee Alex King, pictured on the sidelines as well as City goalkeeper Tom Glover.
Melbourne fans were already planning to protest AFL’s decision to award Sydney the competition’s finals for the next three years, while since 2005 the finals venue has been awarded to the best team in the league at league level.
This episode caused a huge outcry in Australia, forcing Australian Football to issue a very harsh statement:
“Such conduct has no place in Australian football, and a full investigation by Football Australia will be launched immediately, in the course of which severe penalties will be imposed.”
Melbourne Victory also issued a scathing statement:
“Melbourne Victory Football Club is in shock tonight. The club unequivocally condemns the actions of the fans during Saturday night’s match against Melbourne City at AAMI Park. The actions that took place, which saw spectators enter the stadium and a Melbourne City player injured, are reported by an official and a Network Ten photographer. It is unacceptable under any circumstances and has no place in football, as the safety and well-being of all involved in a football match is paramount and the club will not accept such behaviour.I formally apologize to Tom Glover, match official Alex King and camera operator, as well as all players and officials matches and those who witnessed the appalling behaviour. Such behavior will not be tolerated and the club, along with AAMI Park and Victoria Police will launch a full investigation into the incident. Keep in mind there is no place in football for what was seen tonight.”
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