A senior police officer has described a brawl at a soccer match in Sydney’s south as “disgraceful” and those involved as “morons”.
A 23-year-old man is facing charges and police are calling on the public to help identify up to seven people seen in a video of the wild melee, which occurred at a soccer match in Rockdale on Sunday.
Plastic crates, metal objects and flares were hurled during the brawl at Ilinden Sports Centre following a match between National Premier League teams, Rockdale City Suns and Sydney United.
Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke said the incident happened after a spectator “entered the field of play and interfered with one of the players” during the match.
“He was ejected from the playing field, that clearly sparked some tension, but … that is no excuse to behave in the way that these people did.
“To say that I’m disgusted by the behaviour is an understatement.”
Vision of the tense standoff is circulating on social media and shows a flare being lit and thrown into a crowd.
It also shows crates being kicked towards people and others using a table as a shield.
Police were called to the field just after 5pm Sunday, after reports of a brawl involving spectators armed with weapons.
The vision shows one group in a car park, while another group stands on stairs.
At one point, men are seen trying to hold back some spectators, with others taking shelter behind a wire fence.
Detective Superintendent Cooke said one person was holding a lawnmower blade that had been found in a bin on the ground.
“Very clearly a person armed himself with a brick, another person had an iron bar in his hand. One of these individuals who armed himself with a large iron tub.
“We’re very fortunate that there was no serious injury.”
Detective Superintendent Cooke said families and others had been there to enjoy “what should have been a fantastic day” on Anzac Day.
“To think that it happened on such a hallowed day for us is just disgraceful.
“It’s the morons that spoil things for the rest of us. This was a very small percentage of people at the ground.”
The riot squad attended and dispersed the crowd and three men were taken to St George Hospital with minor injuries.
A 23-year-old man from Granville has been charged with being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence and riot.
He was granted bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court in May, and under his bail conditions, he is not to attend any Premier League games.
Police will allege the man threw a brick and was holding a piece of iron.
Detecitve Superintendent Cooke said he had met with Footbal NSW and representatives from both clubs, who were supportive of ridding the game of troublemaking fans.
“They’re not sports fans, they’re not wanted here, they’re not wanted at any fixture and that’s what will occur,” he said.
He said there was no indication at this stage that any players or club officials had been involved in the brawl.
Police are seeking between five and seven men they believe can assist with their inquiries, and have formed Strike Force Azure to further investigate the incident.
In a statement, the Rockdale City Suns Football Club said it was aware of the incident and the club “strongly does not condone anti-social and criminal behaviour”.
It would not comment further due to the police investigation.
A spokesperson for Football NSW said it had opened an investigation into the incident and was working closely with police and both clubs to identify those involved.
“Football NSW condemns any anti-social behaviour and any form of violence.”