Football Australia sanctions Melbourne Victory for fan behaviour

Football Australia has sanctioned Melbourne Victory under the National Code of Conduct and Ethics for an incident that occurred at the Isuzu UTE A-League match at AAMI Park in Melbourne, between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United on Saturday, 8 January 2022.

After considering the Club’s response to the Show Cause Notice, Melbourne Victory has been issued with a $5,000 fine, which will be used by Football Australia to further invest in LGBTQ+ awareness and education initiatives in football.

In reaching the decision, Football Australia considered the following measures undertaken by Melbourne Victory in its official response to the Show Cause Notice and through its public statements.

  1. the Club’s prompt public statement denouncing the incident;
  2. the Club’s continual commitment to promote LGBTQ+ awareness as well as ongoing training and educational campaigns within their club environment;
  3. the Club’s commitment to work with its supporters to take additional steps to educate other fans about diversity and inclusion;
  4. the actions of numerous Melbourne Victory supporters who showed their disdain for the incident and assisted to identify the group of individuals;
  5. the Club’s commitment to ban any individuals identified as having engaged in the conduct from attending future matches.

Football Australia supports these measures and will work with the Club to ensure they are enforced.

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson commended Melbourne Victory on its response to the incident.

“We look at all incidents on a case-by-case basis and take into consideration the totality of the situation and behaviours. This is not a situation where the Club has been sitting on its hands. The Club provided a detailed submission, and it has taken a strong stance against anti-social behaviour – both by its actions before and after this incident.”

“We have tens of thousands of spectators attend football stadiums each week in our season. This is a case of a small number of individuals acting in a way that does not reflect the values of our sport. To be clear, the actions of the spectators responsible for using homophobic slurs against Josh Cavallo were completely unacceptable.”

“We understand that some individuals were removed from the stadium on the night and we will continue to work with the Club and the Australian Professional Leagues to ensure that they – and any other individual identified as engaging in a discriminatory act like this at a match – are banned from attending future football matches in Australia.”

“While we have noted and were pleased with the positive measures undertaken by Melbourne Victory, a sanction reflects the fact clubs are ultimately responsible for the actions of spectators.”

“The Club is already undertaking new initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion. We have also committed to use the fine to further support LGBTQ+ awareness and education, which we feel is a more progressive approach to this incident. Football Australia is a founding member of Pride in Sport and will continue to work with them to help support the Australia Professional Leagues and its clubs.”

“Again, I want to thank Josh for his courage in calling out this unacceptable behaviour and the Club for its swift and strong response. In issuing the sanction Football Australia is warning all participants and fans of the need to work together to ensure everyone can freely participate in our sport regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, ability or disability, cultural or religious background.”

“We will continue to work with the A-Leagues clubs and the Australian Professional Leagues to create a safe and inclusive environment for all involved, whether on or off the field. We will not let the anti-social actions of a few individuals impact the enjoyment football brings to so many.”

/Public Release. View in full here.