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Melbourne Victory fined $50,000, given suspended three-point deduction over fan behaviour

Melbourne Victory have been fined $50,000 by Football Federation Australia and warned that any more trouble caused by their fans inside or outside match venues over the next year will see the club stripped of premiership points.

The FFA handed out the penalty on Wednesday morning and delivered a stern warning to supporters who think that ripping flares and causing trouble in a misguided show of strength outside the ground is somehow helping their club.

The penalty – a $50,000 fine and a suspended three competition point deduction – was imposed after soccer’s governing body found the club guilty of bringing the game into disrepute because of misconduct before, during and after last Saturday night’s Melbourne derby at AAMI Park.

Victory have chosen not to appeal the punishment.

Two flares – to the anger of the bulk of supporters – were ripped inside the ground, while several more were set off outside during the march to the stadium.

In a statement, the FFA said: “Melbourne Victory supporters were found to have taken part in a series of incidents, including the ignition of flares outside and inside AAMI Park, an alleged assault on TV news personnel outside the stadium, throwing missiles at a Melbourne City player and a Victoria Police officer, and altercations with police after the match.”

The missiles were bottles thrown at City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

“Where a serious incident occurs that FFA determines should trigger the suspended sanction, the club will immediately lose three points in the Hyundai A-League. This will apply to incidents that occur in or around any matches the club participates in and will be in place for a period of 12 months, through to 13 February 2017,” the governing body’s statement said.

Victory’s four leaders – chairman Anthony Di Pietro, chief executive Ian Robson, coach Kevin Muscat and acting captain Leigh Broxham – made an appeal to their fans to show solidarity.

“Enough is enough,” Di Pietro said.

“We’ve reached a line in the sand moment … when we ask the true Melbourne Victory fans to stand with us.

“Together we must ensure that anti-social behaviour from a marginal element does not compromise everything that we’re trying to achieve.

“Our message is simple. No more flares. No more anti-social behaviour.”

The next flashpoint for Victory is Friday night, when the defending premiers host an Adelaide United side that is roaring up the table and has now passed Victory to lie third on the league ladder.

The two clubs have a long standing Victoria v South Australia rivalry and often produce closely contested games.

FFA chief executive David Gallop added his condemnation.

“The behaviour of a number of Melbourne Victory supporters last Saturday night was deplorable and cast a shadow over what was a fabulous game of A-League football.

“It’s staggering that these dangerous incidents happened just days after FFA had applied sanctions to the Western Sydney Wanderers because of the actions of some fans. The focus on fan behaviour could not have been more acute.

“If there is any bright note in this situation, it is the refreshing attitude shown by both clubs through their CEOs, coaches and players. They are saying ‘enough is enough’. As leaders and ambassadors of their clubs, they want to be part of the solution.”

In determining the sanctions against Melbourne Victory, FFA has taken in mitigation the club’s submission, in which it commits to review and enhance safety and security measures at matches involving Victory. FFA acknowledges Melbourne Victory’s long-standing efforts to manage fan behaviour issues, the statement concluded.

with AAP

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