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"Enough is enough... we've reached a line in the sand"


Like Western Sydney a week before them, Melbourne Victory – against whom Adelaide face off tomorrow night – have been found guilty of bringing the A-League into disrepute and made to pay a hefty price.

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The A-League champions have been served the same punishment as Tony Popovic’s side; a three-point deduction – suspended on a year’s worth of good behaviour by the club’s fans – and a $50,000 fine.

Victory have chosen not to appeal the punishment, instead appealing to their fans to show solidarity.

The club’s four leaders – chairman Anthony Di Pietro, chief executive Ian Robson, coach Kevin Muscat and acting captain Leigh Broxham – yesterday shared a stage to make a final pitch to their fans.

“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.”

Victory hope the message is heard loudly enough to move on from an unfortunate fortnight.

Against the Wanderers at Etihad Stadium, Victory fans bore witness to the travelling supporters’ carnage, and a week later their own rogue element created their own brand of mayhem at the Melbourne derby.

The club’s rap sheet from their draw with Melbourne City includes lighting flares inside and outside AAMI Park, an alleged assault on a news crew outside the stadium, bottle-throwing during the match and altercations with police after full-time.

FFA chief executive David Gallop said Victory’s shame was the sadder for drawing attention away from a brilliant 2-2 draw with their neighbours.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The trigger-point for the deduction of points is a ‘serious incident’, determined at FFA’s discretion.

Melbourne Victory fans light a flare during the Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory A League round 19 match at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Victory fans light a flare during the game. Photo: Tracey Nearmy, AAP.

Gallop said he was heartened by the seriousness in which Victory were confronting the problem.

“If there is any bright note in this situation, it is the refreshing attitude shown by both clubs through their CEOs, coaches and players,” he said.

“As leaders and ambassadors of their clubs, they want to be part of the solution.”

All eyes now turn to the behaviour of fans at two major matches this weekend.

After Victory host their oldest rivals Adelaide United, the Sydney derby is played at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.


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