MELBOURNE, Australia -- An A-League soccer match between rivals Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory was abandoned Saturday after fans invaded the field and attacked City goalkeeper Tom Glover.
Video on social media shows a fan throwing a metal bucket with a white substance at Glover, who was taken off the field dazed and bleeding. Team officials said he had sustained a possible concussion but there was no immediate word on his condition.
Match referee Alex King was also injured, sustaining a head cut in the same incident.
Fans from the Melbourne Victory area of the stadium rushed the pitch just after the 20-minute mark of the game at AAMI Stadium. City led 1-0 when the match was stopped.
“Following shocking scenes during the first half of the A-League men’s match between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City ... where fans from the Melbourne Victory FC end entered the field of play, Football Australia match officials have abandoned the match ... in order to protect the integrity of the match,” a Football Australia statement said.
“Such behavior has no place in Australian football, with a full Football Australia investigation to commence immediately," with “strong sanctions to be handed down.”
There had been a tense atmosphere to start the match with both sets of fans planning to leave the game at the 20-minute mark as part of a protest toward the Australian Professional Leagues, which had recently awarded the next three grand final matches to Sydney in a deal with the New South Wales state government.
Both sets of fans started derogatory chants immediately after the preceding A-League Women’s game finished. Victory and City fans also unfurled banners, referring to their displeasure with the APL and its decision on the championship matches.
Both sets of fans had been throwing flares on the field but the situation escalated when a flare appeared to hit a television cameraman. Glover later picked up another flare off the ground and threw it back into the stands.
Fans then rushed the pitch and Glover was struck by the metal bucket, which is used to dispose of flares. Glover started bleeding from a head wound and was taken from the field, along with players from both teams.
The incident came two weeks after Australia advanced to the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar before losing 2-1 to Argentina.
Veteran Australia soccer journalist Ray Gatt replied to a comment on Twitter by saying: “As a football writer I covered Australian soccer for over 40 years and have seen many highs and crippling lows. This is the lowest of the lows. So very sad."
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