Police have charged three men with a range of offences following the violent pitch invasion at Saturday’s A-League match at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
- A 23-year-old man was charged with nine offences in relation to the incident where a keeper was struck in the head
- Two other men are facing a number of charges including violent disorder and unlawful assault
- Police have released more than a dozen images of other people they wish to speak to about the pitch invasion
The match was abandoned after fans from the Melbourne Victory active area stormed the pitch, with Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover struck by the metal bucket and injured.
Two security guards and a Channel 10 cameraman were injured in the chaos. Referee Alex King was also struck by the metal bucket.
Victoria Police released photos of several people they wanted to speak to about the pitch invasion and related incidents, with a small number of the men contacting investigators.
A police spokesperson confirmed on Monday afternoon that three people had been charged over the incident.
A 23-year-old man from Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north was charged “in relation to an alleged incident where Melbourne City’s goalkeeper was struck in the head with a bucket full of sand”, the spokesperson said.
He was charged with violent disorder, discharging a missile, intent to cause injury, recklessly causing injury, unlawful assault, entry to sporting competition space, disrupting a match, public nuisance and riotous behaviour.
“A 19-year-old Meadow Heights man has been charged also in relation to a separate alleged assault on the goalkeeper, as well as an alleged assault on a security guard,” the police spokesperson said.
The 19-year-old was charged with violent disorder, criminal damage, unlawful assault, entry to competition space, disrupting a match, public nuisance and riotous behaviour.
A third man, an 18-year-old from Alphington, was charged with violent disorder, criminal damage, unlawful assault, entry to competition space, disrupting a match, public nuisance and riotous behaviour “in relation to the alleged separate assault on the goalkeeper as well as criminal damage caused to the venue”.
The three men all presented to police stations on Monday, after police released images of people they wished to speak to about the incident.
They were all released on bail and are expected to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on February 27.
Police say they will be ‘knocking on a few doors’
Police released more than a dozen images of people they wished to speak to about the event, which investigators said involved more than 150 people.
At least two other people had been identified but not charged by Monday afternoon.
Police said about 50 flares were lit within the stands, with at least three thrown onto the field.
The spokesperson said about $120,000 worth of damage was caused to the stadium.
In addition to the injuries sustained by Glover, the cameraman and two security guards, the Public Order Response Team had bottles thrown at them.
“Police are continuing to trawl through detailed vision of the incidents, and those involved are strongly urged to make themselves known to police immediately,” the spokesperson said.
Acting Superintendent Jason Goddard from Victoria Police described the incident as shocking and disgraceful, saying it “lacked total respect for the game of football”.
“I was at the game and I’ve watched the vision of what happened a number of times and see the behaviour as disgusting,” he said.
“Detectives from our North West Metro Regional Crime Squad are working hard and I have no doubt we’ll be knocking on a few doors soon.”
Melbourne Victory could face sanctions
Football Australia has issued a show cause notice to Melbourne Victory following the pitch invasion and fan violence.
Victory has been given until 9am Wednesday to explain why they should not face serious sanctions for bringing the game into disrepute.
The club faces potential financial penalties, loss of competition points and could be forced to play matches behind closed doors.
Football Australia CEO James Johnson said the incident had tarnished the reputation of the sport.
“What we all witnessed on Saturday night can only be described as horrific and conduct that is not consistent with the values of Australian football nor the expectations of our community,” he said.
“I have personally contacted Melbourne City goalkeeper Thomas Glover and match official Alex King over the weekend.
“Understandably they are both shaken and are recovering from the injuries they received, and Football Australia has offered them both support.”
Football Australia says it will also determine a result for the match, which was abandoned in the 22nd minute.