2 men given life-time bans after pitch invasion in Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Football Australia has issued life-time bans to two Melbourne Victory supporters who rushed onto the field during an A-League game, including one who allegedly hit Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover with a metal bucket.
Glover had a concussion and a facial laceration after being hit by the bucket wielded by a pitch invader and referee Alex King was also injured in the incident as about 150 people ran onto the field during Saturday night’s Melbourne derby in Australia’s top-flight soccer competition.
Football Australia issued a statement Tuesday saying it had conducted an investigation and had banned for life from all soccer-related activities a 23-year-old man who has already been charged by Victoria state police with violent disorder among a range of offenses.
The investigation by soccer organizers found the man guilty of “entering the field of play without authorization and
using an item (bucket) with the intent to cause damage or harm.”
Football Australia said a 19-year-old man, who has also been charged by police, had received a life-time ban for “entering the field of play without authorization and engaging in conduct that did or was likely to cause harm or endanger others”.
“The actions of these two, and others, are completely unacceptable and those people and their behaviours will never be welcome in our game,” Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said in a statement.
The two men were among three charged by police on Monday following the public release of images of the people wanted for questioning in the incident. All three were given bail and will appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court in February.
Video on social media showed a man throwing a metal bucket of sand at Glover during the melee about 20 minutes into the game at AAMI Stadium. Glover was taken off the field dazed and bleeding and later received stitches to a facial laceration. He was back at practice with the club on Monday.
Both sets of fans had been throwing flares onto the field during the game but the situation escalated when a flare appeared to hit a television camera operator. Glover later picked up another flare off the ground and threw it back into the stands.
Football Australia has also ordered Melbourne Victory to show cause by Wednesday why it should not face severe sanctions for the conduct of its supporters.
Victory could face a financial penalty, points deduction or possibly have fans locked out of stadiums.
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