The Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers face losing A-League competition points for any further fan misbehaviour after both clubs were charged with bringing the game into disrepute.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) laid the charges on Friday over the street brawl between fans of both clubs before Saturday’s match at Melbourne’s AAMI Park and the flares and detonators let off at the game.
FFA boss David Gallop gave the clubs until 5pm on Monday to show why they should not face a sanction of losing three competition points, with the punishment to be enforced only if there are further fan behaviour problems.
Gallop also warned both the Victory and the Wanderers that their public statements this week were considered inappropriate and damaging to the A-League.
The Victory blamed the Wanderers’ travelling fans for the misbehaviour at the game and the Wanderers responded by blaming Victory fans for sparking the street fight outside a pub.
Announcing the FFA action on Friday, Gallop revealed that both clubs had received previous written warnings about the conduct of their fans and had been put on notice competition points could be deducted if problems persisted.
“Loss of points that have been won fairly on the pitch is a harsh penalty, but it’s in equal measure to the enormous damage caused by the type anti-social behaviour seen in Melbourne last Saturday,” said Gallop.
“The troublemakers are hurting the club they claim to support. They need to understand that the consequences of their reckless conduct will be felt on the A-League competition table if trouble persists.”
Gallop said that true fans would never dream of hurting their club.
“I have great sympathy for the overwhelming majority of fans who are sickened by the misconduct of a few, but it’s time to make the consequences clear to everyone,” he said.
“We want a safe, enjoyable and family-friendly environment in the A-League and we won’t tolerate bad behaviour.”
Gallop said the disciplinary action was based on an extensive briefing and detailed reports on the December 28 incidents compiled by Victoria Police, stadium managers and FFA’s security advisers.