Melbourne Victory sanctions, financial, sporting, CEO James Johnson


By Zachary Gates and Matt Bungard

Football Australia has whacked Melbourne Victory with further sanctions following the pitch invasion of club supporters in December, slapping the franchise with a $550,000 fine and a host of other punishments.

Victory must also:

  • Block access to select seating behind the goals and otherwise restrict seating in the north end of AAMI Park to registered club members for the remainder of the 2022-23 A-League Men season and 2022-23 A-League Men finals series, and
  • Include a direction that no specifically allocated club supporter seating at the club’s away games will be provided for the remainder of the 2022-23 A-League Men season and 2022-23 A-League Men finals series

Football Australia also hung a suspended 10-point deduction over the club, which can be imposed for any instance of serious supporter misconduct during this season and the next three seasons.

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The further sanctions were dealt in consideration of Victory’s response to the show-cause notice and measures taken by the club since.

“The incident at the Melbourne derby on December 17 shocked Australian football,” FA head James Johnson told reporters today.

“It shocked international football – it’s something that Football Australia is not proud about.”

Johnson said he was aware that this was ‘not the first time’ there had been issues with Victory fans.

“In 2016 we had an invasion of the pitch, in 2022 we had the Cavallo incident, we also had the 2021 Australia Cup (played in 2022) issue where fans also damaged LED and entered the pitch when they were celebrating a goal.

“This is really an aggravation of those issues.” 

The match, which was abandoned, will be replayed in April – beginning from the 22-minute mark with the score at 1-0 in favour of Melbourne City. 

Johnson said the sanctions were warranted given just how bad the situation was.

“The scenes at the Melbourne derby were the worst witnessed in Australian football during the A-League era. We cannot let this happen again in our game,” he said.

“These sanctions are reflective of our desire to remove this behaviour from the sport.”

But what about the root cause of the protests? Johnson was asked about the APL’s controversial decision to move the A-League grand finals to Sydney for the next three years, but declined to pass judgment.

“I think the A-League grand final issue is something that needs to be discussed with the APL – they need to continue to communicate the reasons for those decisions, because the APL was the body that made that decision,” he said.

“As a regulator of the A-League, we can’t take those issues into consideration. We need to look at the evidence that’s in front of us, and the evidence that we’ve looked at is a number of spectators that were sitting in the North End that entered the field.”

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