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Jets condemn ‘ugly’ A-League incident

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The Newcastle Jets have condemned the actions of those who instigated the “ugly” scenes at AAMI Park at the weekend, which tarnished the A-League Men’s brand.

Tempers among spectators boiled over during the highly-anticipated Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory fixture on Saturday night, in the wake of the Australian Professional Leagues’ (APL) decision to move the competition’s grand final to Sydney for the next three years.

While peaceful protests took place at other venues over the round, Victorian fans had other ideas.

They stormed the ground and assaulted a player, match official and camera operator, forcing the encounter to be abandoned.

Melbourne City goalkeeper Thomas Glover suffered a laceration to his face, requiring stitches, while referee Alex King was also injured.

Football Australia has given the Victory until 9am on Wednesday 21 December to show cause why it should not face serious sanctions for bringing the game into disrepute through the conduct of its supporters, which may include financial penalties or loss of competition points.

The Jets issued a statement on Sunday night, denouncing the perpetrators’ behaviour in the crowd.

“Football is the most inclusive sport,” it said.

“It is for families and for law-abiding citizens who want to passionately support their team.

“The events that unfolded at the Melbourne derby demonstrated that a small minority of people with criminal intent hide within our game. 

“They neither understand nor love our game. 

“What they do understand is how to use our game as a platform for their anti-social and illegal objectives. 

“This is a watershed moment for our game that demands a zero tolerance for the incidents that we witnessed and the kind of people that perpetrated them.

“The Jets and other clubs will work deliberately and exhaustively, hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies, and with Football Australia to ensure that our game can never again be used as camouflage for criminals.”

The code’s regulator sent the “show cause” notice after it reviewed all available footage and imagery from the showdown and received detailed reports from the match commissioner, officials, AAMI Park management and the APL.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson also expressed his extreme disappointment.

“What we all witnessed on Saturday night can only be described as horrific and conduct that is not consistent with the values of Australian football nor the expectations of our community,” he said.

“I have personally contacted Melbourne City goalkeeper Thomas Glover and match official Alex King over the weekend.

“Understandably, they are both shaken and are recovering from the injuries they received, and Football Australia has offered them both support.

“Our football stadiums must be safe places for our community to enjoy the game they love and our players and match officials to ply their trade.

“Football Australia had a responsibility to intervene as soon as the match was called off to ensure this matter was addressed with the full regulatory and disciplinary powers at our disposal.

“The offenders who entered the field of play on Saturday night, causing havoc and assaulting a player, official and cameraman have no place in our game.

“They are not welcome… and we will do everything we can to identify them and impose the sanctions they deserve.”

APL CEO Danny Townsend affirmed the A-Leagues would not budge on the controversial judgement to relocate the grand finals to Sydney.

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