Melbourne Victory handed show cause notice by FFA for fan flare trouble
Football Federation Australia (FFA) have issued a show cause notice to Melbourne Victory after rowdy behaviour marred the A-League's Melbourne derby on Saturday night.
At least one flare was let off inside the stadium during the 2-2 draw, several more were ripped outside AAMI Park and bottles were thrown onto the pitch during a heated moment for a disallowed goal.
The A-League premiers have until Wednesday afternoon to respond to the notice, which is the first step on the road to possible sanction.
Victory are set to be charged with bringing the game into disrepute -- the same charge handed to Western Sydney last week to great cost.
The Wanderers were handed a suspended three-point deduction and AU$50,000 fine after incendiary travelling fans unleashed more than 25 flares -- as well as the more crowd-alarming detonators -- last week against Victory at Etihad Stadium.
While the transgressions of Victory's fans were fewer, they took place with the spotlight firmly on their behaviour.
FFA chief executive David Gallop said a no tolerance policy was now in force after the incidents "cast a shadow on football."
"The timing of these incidents has shocked many people given the acute focus on these issues," he said.
"No one could have missed the fact that FFA, our clubs, players and coaches have been explicitly clear in our condemnation of actions over the last week around the ignition of flares.
"We must continue to hold the safety and enjoyment of true football fans at the heart of our decisions ... this [flare-lighting] minority is not welcome."
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane suggested A-League fans would be the big losers if they continued to act like "adolescent children."
Leane didn't rule out the radical option of stadium shut-downs if active fans didn't tone down their behaviour.
"At the moment active supporters get all sorts of privileges and rights that no other patron that comes to A-League soccer has," he said.
"So maybe it's like dealing with an adolescent child, you actually start to turn those privileges off."
Leane said police put themselves in "significant danger" policing A-League games, adding that one of his officers was hit in the face with a half-full bottle of water.
"There's still much more we can do in this space," he said.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat made his view of troublemakers clear after the match, telling them they weren't part of the club.
"Its not acceptable. Those individuals shouldn't come to our games any more," he said.
"I sensed the reaction from the rest of the crowd ... they were fed up with individuals with their mindless acts.
"It's about time we grow up."