An ugly pitch invasion during the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night has gone global with Australian football left reeling.
The A-League Men (ALM) game between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory was suspended and eventually abandoned after just 20 minutes as a result of fans storming onto the field.
City goalkeeper Tom Glover was struck by a bin by one of the pitch invaders, while a Network 10 cameraman was also left injured.
Referee Alex King was also caught in the middle of the incident and was left covered in flare smoke after Glover was hit.
Football Australia are investigating what happened with “strong sanctions” promised against those found to have been involved.
The pitch invasion came just days after the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) controversially confirmed the ALM grand final would be held in Sydney for the next three seasons – regardless of which teams qualify.
Fans had been protesting the decision peacefully with banners and walk outs in matches prior to the Melbourne Derby.
But the subsequent scenes at AAMI Park have left both the A-Leagues and Australian football with a black eye after what was a historic World Cup for the Socceroos.
Players and pundits have condemned what happened on Saturday night with many left concerned about the state of the game as a result with footage of the incident going viral and being covered by the likes of the BBC.
Very sad day for football in Aus. Hope all the boys & officials are ok❤️ Hope that all the fans that went to actually support our beautiful game got home safe.
— Sam Kerr (@samkerr1) December 17, 2022
Our game is in tatters. An absolute disgrace what happened tonight. Cannot believe we are here after such an amazing WC and so much potential to see our game grow. Irreparable damage done. Darkest day for football in Australia.
— Danny Vukovic (@vuka20) December 17, 2022
What is wrong with people? It happens time & time again. We take a step forward & then 10 steps backwards, in this case 100 backwards… minority of idiots cause untold damage to our sport far to often.. name, shame, prosecute and ban for life those involved. #ALeagues #MCYvMVC https://t.co/OlwvTNazxA
— Mark Schwarzer (@schwarzer_mark) December 17, 2022
That is an absolute disgrace from the Melbourne Victory fans. Not what football in this country needs and I hope whoever threw that bucket is banned from ever attending another A-league match. @aleaguemen
— Ben Garuccio (@Bengaruccio) December 17, 2022
And our fall from grace is complete. Like the World Cup never happened. Very sad & angry.
— simonhill1894 (@simonhill1894) December 17, 2022
What a dark, dark time this is for the game in Australia. Everything that happened tonight has typified where we’re at as a game – lost, disillusioned, fractured and without hope. For shame.
— Lucy Zelić (@LucyZelic) December 17, 2022
Melbourne A League derby abandoned. Truly shameful scenes that will be seen around the world.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) December 17, 2022
After an extraordinary month for football, this is painful to watch.
Hope Thomas is OK, firstly.
There is no justification for this.
Everyone in the game has dual responsibilities.
To club. And also to the broader game.
And these few failed both tests. https://t.co/TeC9qXiJ3N
— Craig Foster (@Craig_Foster) December 17, 2022
From lovely football to absolutely disgraceful scenes. Protest is fine, THIS IS NOT!! The thugs that attacked Glover and Alex King should be arrested and face the full extent of the law. #MCYvMVC
— Daniel McBreen (@djmcbreen) December 17, 2022
Football Australia CEO James Johnson is talking to media on Sunday morning to discuss what happened and FA’s next steps.
Life bans for fans involved are all but certain, while Victory itself could also be punished with their supporters at the centre of the incident.