Melbourne Victory face the prospect of a points deduction and playing games behind closed doors after Football Australia officially slapped the A-Leagues club with a show cause notice for their fans’ violent derby pitch invasion.
Saturday night’s A-League Men match was abandoned after fans from the Victory active area stormed the AAMI Park pitch.
Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover was hit by a metal bucket wielded by a pitch invader and referee Alex King was also injured, while a Network 10 cameraman was earlier hit by a flare.
FA has not ruled out sanctions against City or Glover, who tossed a flare thrown onto the pitch by fans back into the crowd, prompting some supporters to storm the field.
Glover returned to training on Monday with dressing protecting the stitches used to repair a “severe laceration” on the side of his face.
The goalkeeper, who also suffered concussion, expressed disappointment over the position Australian football now finds itself in, just two weeks after the Socceroos’ impressive World Cup run ended.
“The incident is disappointing for Australian football itself,” Glover told the Nine Network.
“The Socceroos were unbelievable and (we were) hopefully riding the wave of that, but a small minority kind of ruins it.”
The Australian game’s governing body confirmed on Monday Victory would have until 9am AEDT on Wednesday to show why the club “should not face serious sanctions for bringing the game into disrepute through the conduct of its supporters”.
FA confirmed repercussions could include “financial penalties, loss of competition points and/or playing matches behind closed doors, or on neutral territory”.
“As we made clear on Saturday evening following the abandonment of the match, we will move quickly to properly investigate this matter and where appropriate, issue the strongest possible sanctions to the club and individuals involved,” FA chief executive James Johnson said in a statement.
“The show cause notice following our initial investigations is the next step in the process and will allow us to gather more crucial information.”
The perpetrators appear likely to receive life bans. As of Sunday, two men had been identified after coming forward to police.
“This is a small group of perpetrators that don’t love football, that don’t love the A-League and that don’t love Melbourne Victory,” A-Leagues boss Danny Townsend told Seven Network’s Sunrise.
“We’ve got to weed them out and we’ve got to make sure that what happened on Saturday night never happens again
“It wasn’t just an assault on a player or an official or a cameraman, it was an assault on the football family.”