Victory fans call for adequate security
Melbourne Victory fans have called for adequate policing and security to prevent clashes between supporters at Sunday's A-League clash with Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The spiteful rivalry between the two clubs reached boiling point this season with their two previous matches marred by crowd incidents.
Fans were criticised for their treatment of each other at their SFS meeting in September, where crowd members also pelted the referee with bottles after Sydney's 1-0 loss.
Supporters then clashed at the Telstra Dome in November, with police were forced to use capsicum spray to separate them and Sydney FC fans were accused of hurling bottles and flares at passers-by after the match.
With so much on the line on Sunday - including the minor premiership for Sydney - and a record regular-season crowd of more than 25,000 expected, there is bound to be plenty of tension again.
But Adam Tennenini, leader of Victory supporters group the Blue and White Brigade, said he didn't anticipate a repeat of the scenes.
"As long as it's policed properly I don't think it going to be an issue but obviously there's been some problems in the past," Tennenini said.
"It's sort of ongoing between the two clubs."
"The problems have been exiting the stadium for both clubs when we go there and they come here and it hasn't been the best from security and police point of view.
"It's not easy when the fans disperse quickly ... but I think if the fans were let out at another exit or held back until all the Sydney fans have left the stadium, it might be easier."
Tennenini expected hundreds of Victory supporters to make the trek north for the game, despite the reigning premiers being out of the finals race.
He said it was a small minority from both sets of fans who had started the trouble in the past and said fans needed to take responsibility for their own actions.
"There's some self policing involved as well - we take idiots into line - but sometimes it can't be helped," he said.
"I'm sure (police and security) have learned from previous experience and it will only get better."
Football Federation Australia said it was working with Sydney FC, the venue and police to ensure that an appropriate level of security was present for the match.
"We don't anticipate any issues with this match and we expect both sets of fans to behave in the appropriate manner," an FFA spokesman said.
Sydney FC chief executive George Perry said the expected large crowd would result in a higher security presence but also played down any potential problems.
"We've had very good discussions with the cricket ground trust and the police and security over there we're hoping both fans come to watch the football and behave themselves," Perry said.
"It will be a great game and there's plenty up for grabs."