From abc.net.au Friday 3rd January 2013
FFA charges Melbourne Victory, Western Sydney Wanderers over fans’ street brawl
Football Federation Australia has charged Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers over a street brawl between the team’s fans before last Saturday’s A-League match.
Two men were hospitalised after fighting between supporters from both clubs before and during the 1-1 draw at AAMI Park.
Flares, bottles and metal poles were used as weapons in the fighting which took place on Melbourne’s Bourke Street.
The FFA announced on Friday it was charging both teams with bringing the game into disrepute and said the clubs would have until 5pm on January 7 to show cause why they should not face sanctions.
“FFA has advised the clubs that their public statements this week on the events of 28 December are regarded as inappropriate and damaging to the interests of the A-League,” the FFA said in a statement.
“FFA has advised the clubs that the proposed sanction is the deduction of three competition points from each club.
“The sanction would be suspended until the conclusion of the 2013/14 season, subject to the proper conduct of supporters for that period.”
The points deduction would be activated in addition to any sanction imposed at the time if there were further incidents involving supporters.
In a press conference following the announcement, the FFA’s Damien de Bohun defended the unprecedented proposed penalty, saying that the league had to protect football.
“We are determined that this is the most appropriate course of action,” he said.
“There’s no question the true fans of football will embrace where we’re heading.
“We need to give people the opportunity to prove they are true football fans,” he said, explaining the decision to suspend the deduction of competition points.
The penalty was handed down to cover both what happened before and during the game, including the letting off of flares inside the ground.
De Bohun said that the FFA was prepared to ban for five years any fans found to have let off flares.
He said that what had happened on December 28 was unacceptable and said the decision sent a message to people considering similar behaviour that “enough’s enough.”
He added that the league had banned 99 individuals from attending games for behavioural problems in the last 18 months.
Clubs respond without comment on proposed penalties
Both clubs responded to the announcement, releasing short statements on Friday afternoon.
The Wanderers reaffirmed the club’s position that anti-social behaviour had no place in the stands, the game or society.
“The club fully supports all appropriate necessary measures to remove this minority element from our game,” the Wanderers said.
“Any individual identified committing acts of anti-social behaviour, as evidenced today, puts themselves and the Club at risk of significant and heavy penalty.”
Melbourne Victory said the club had requested an operational plan from the FFA on changes to match day arrangement for the return game with the Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium on January 14.
“As stated previously, Melbourne Victory in no way condones or tolerates the actions of a small minority that participate in anti-social behaviour in and around football matches, and has worked tirelessly with all stakeholders to identify and prosecute those responsible,” the club said.
“The Club remains committed to providing fans with a safe and welcoming environment, while continuing to assist Victoria Police with its investigations.”
The Victory said they would consider their position on the proposed sanction but would not make any comment on the threat of loss of points.