Security review at AAMI Park after violent pitch invasion at Victory and City Melbourne derby match as Football Australia issues life bans
“In response to the events at the Melbourne derby on 17 December, M&OP is working with a specialist, independent security agency to undertake a review, and enhance security procedures at the venue,” a Melbourne and Olympic Parks spokesperson said in a statement.
“M&OP will work with the clubs and the league to implement enhanced security procedures to ensure a safe environment at all events at AAMI Park.”
The incidents led to the game being suspended at the 20-minute mark and later abandoned due to concerns over player safety. An estimated $120,000 of damage was done to the venue.
Johnson conceded the game “has an issue with flares” which required addressing. A flare hit and injured a Channel 10 cameraman at the match on Saturday, and Glover and King were attacked after the former picked up a flare that had been thrown onto the turf and threw it back towards the stands.
The Melbourne and Olympic Parks spokesperson continued: “The only way to effectively stop flares from entering the venue is to undertake a physical search of each person.”
According to police, approximately 50 flares were lit within stands and three thrown on to the field. M&OPT disclosed seven flares were confiscated during bag searches on every patron at AAMI Park. Additionally, bottles were also thrown at the public order response team on the field.
Johnson said there was no place in the sport for such behaviour and those whom engage in it “will be weeded out”.
“That will give organisations like FIFA the confidence that we’re a code and a country that can deal with [crowd issues] quickly, swiftly and strongly.”
Western United are scheduled to host Victory on Boxing Day in another Melbourne derby at AAMI Park.
The Melbourne & Olympic Parks spokesperson said they were waiting on direction from Football Australia and the Australian Premier Leagues, and the outcome of their investigation and sanctions, to determine security measures for the match.
Melbourne Victory have been served a show cause notice by Football Australia regarding the crowd behaviour over the weekend and have until 9am Wednesday to show why they should not face serious sanctions. It’s the club’s second show cause notice this year.
Sanctions may include an order to play behind closed doors for part or the remainder of the A-League Men season.
Victoria Police acting superintendent Jason Goddard has also issued a warning to those considering brining flares to games.
“It’s not the type of behaviour we need within the sport. It detracts from the code. It’s culturally wrong, its behaviour is straight-out criminal, [and] that sort of behaviour is straight-out dangerous,” Goddard said on Sunday.
Police said about 150 people were believed to have stormed the pitch. Three men – including the 23-year-old, 19-year-old and an 18-year-old from Alphington – have been charged by police after they presented to police stations on Monday.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said authorities continue to trawl through detailed vision of the incident. Anyone who was involved is strongly urged to make themselves known to police.
A peaceful protest at the derby had been anticipated, with supporters set to walk-out at the 20-minute mark of the match over their dissatisfaction with a deal that will see A-League grand finals played in Sydney until 2025.
On Tuesday, a supporter group for the Western Sydney Wanderers, the Red and Black Bloc, posted a statement to Instagram, in which they implored the APL to reconsider the grand final deal, as well as calling for other wide-ranging changes across the league.
“The governance of our league by the APL and the handling of the grand finals [men’s and women’s] decision has highlighted the need for true reform that puts fans at the centre of decision-making,” the statement read.
“As a code, we cannot continue to shoot ourselves in the foot by making choices that directly impact supporters without their full consultation.”
The statement went on to list four points it wished the APL to consider, “to avoid further fan furore around the way decisions are made in our game and reduce the damage of decisions already made”, including the establishment of a supporters’ committee.
One of those points was structural change at an APL board level, another was an “unreserved apology by the APL for their egregious disregard of the game’s key stakeholders”.
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