FFA to probe fan violence in Melbourne Print
Written by AAP   
Saturday, 10 November 2007 23:00

A police taskforce will target unruly behaviour to help prevent a repeat of wild scenes among soccer fans in Melbourne which forced the use of capsicum spray.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) also has promised a full investigation into fan violence at the A-League match between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.

Police had to use capsicum spray to keep rival supporters apart.

One man was arrested at the game in possession of a flare and at least eight fans were ejected from the 32,000 strong crowd.

Another two flares were lit and bottles thrown during what police called the "walk of shame" as fans marched down Flinders Street to the stadium.

Sydney FC supporters have been blamed for the ugly behaviour.

Acting Superintendent Chris Duthrie said the conduct of fans was "abysmal" and would not be tolerated.

Troublemakers were dealt with promptly at the Telstra Dome, but flare ups on the way to the ground took police by surprise, he said.

"The walk of shame by these people down Flinders Street, of course we were unprepared for, we certainly will not be unprepared for that again," Supt Duthrie told reporters.

"Police kept them in line as much as they could until they got to Telstra Dome.

A police cordon was enforced outside a Bourke Street hotel to stop Sydney supporters entering a bar where Melbourne fans were drinking.

Inside the ground the two supporter groups were separated by venue staff and police.

After the game - which ended in a nil-all draw - some sections of the crowd tried to breach the security line and police used capsicum spray to keep the groups separated.

"I believe the police that were there managed it very well. We were a bit lucky, but certainly we won't have this issue again, we'll be managing it better," Supt Duthrie said.

The Victorian government and police were developing a Safe City Taskforce to target rogue behaviour in the CBD which would help quell troublemakers at sporting events, he said.

"I have no idea why soccer fans do behave like this, they behave like this on a number of occasions as we all know.

"We don't often have to use OC (capsicum spray) foam against cricket fans en masse in a sporting arena."

FFA head of A-League operations Rob Abernethy said the allegations were serious.

"I have spoken with the Melbourne Victory CEO Geoff Miles and we will be seeking a full event report from the club as well as the venue, security services provider and the Victorian state police," he said.

"Once all reports have been received we will then review all the available information and then take the appropriate course of action.

"It is disappointing that a minority of so-called supporters may have behaved in an inappropriate manner."

Ed: Interesting that Supt Duthrie admits that capsicum spray has been used before on crowds at the cricket, yet tries to make it sound like football is much worse - despite the fact this is the only time it has been used at a football match in Australia, ever. The slander of football by certain sections of the Australian media continues.