Football Australia whip-cracker on rowdy fans


Football Australia issues lifetime bans Image: AAMI Park

Football Australia has issued the first two of many lifetime bans it expects to hand out as part of its ongoing investigation into the pitch invasion that left a player and a referee injured during the abandoned A-League derby recently.

‘Reuters’ stated that the Australian professional soccer club Melbourne City FC goalkeeper Tom Glover was concussed after being struck in the face by a metal bucket and referee Alex King suffered a cut to his head as fans from the peer team Melbourne Victory FC end stormed onto the pitch on December 17th, 2022.

Football Australia is the governing body of soccer, futsal and beach soccer within Australia, headquartered in Sydney. Although the first governing body of the sport was founded in 1911, Football Australia in its current form was only established in 1961 as the Australian Soccer Federation. It was later reconstituted in 2003 as the Australian Soccer Association before adopting the name of Football Federation Australia in 2005.

The A-League Men is the highest level of professional men’s soccer league in Australia and New Zealand. At the top of the Australian league system, it is the country’s premier men’s competition for the sport.

‘Reuters’ further stated that the pitch invasion came days after the A-League announced a deal to sell its men’s and women’s title-deciding Grand Finals to Sydney until 2025, a decision that triggered a major fan backlash. Hosting rights for Grand Finals were previously given to the top-finishing teams.

Football Australia launched an investigation a day after the above incident, saying the organization would “weed out” the troublemakers.

A Football Australia statement sent out on December 20th said that the ban was handed to a spectator known as ‘Bucket Man’ and one other patron.

The statement added, “In working with Victoria Police, Football Australia issued a 23-year-old man from Craigieburn (Victoria) and a 19-year-old man from Meadow Heights (Victoria) with lifetime bans from all related football activities. The 23-year-old has been found guilty by Football Australia of entering the field of play without authorization and using an item (bucket) with the intent to cause damage or harm… The 19-year-old man has been found guilty by Football Australia of entering the field of play without authorization and engaging in conduct that did or was likely to cause harm or endanger others.”

The police have also subjected them to a range of charges, including violent disorder, public nuisance and riotous behavior.

Football Australia head honcho James Johnson said the actions of the two fans were “completely unacceptable”.

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