Australian police have charged three men after a pitch invasion that left a goalkeeper and a referee injured and forced the abandonment of a top-flight football match between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory.
Video on social media showed a man throwing a metal bucket of sand at Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover during the melee at AAMI Stadium on Saturday night.
Glover was taken off the field dazed and bleeding and later received stitches to a facial laceration. He was back in training with the club on Monday.
About 150 people rushed the pitch around the 20-minute mark, when City led 1-0.
Victoria state police reviewed security video before asking for public help to identify eight people wanted for questioning.
Three men, aged 23, 19 and 18, subsequently reported to local police stations and were charged with a range of offences.
All three were given bail and will appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in February.
A 23-year-old man accused of throwing the bucket of sand at Glover was charged with violent disorder, discharging a missile, unlawful assault, public nuisance and riotous behaviour.
The two teenagers were charged with offenses including assaulting the goalkeeper and the referee.
Both sets of fans had been throwing flares onto the field but the situation escalated when a flare appeared to hit a television camera operator.
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 containing sand, which is used to extinguish flares.
Football Australia has vowed to impose heavy punishments against those found responsible and has ordered Melbourne Victory to argue why it should not face severe sanctions for the conduct of its supporters.
Victory could face a financial penalty, a points deduction or have its fans locked out of stadiums.
The incident has blighted an otherwise upbeat time for football in Australia, two weeks after the national side’s strong World Cup showing in reaching the round of 16 before a narrow 2-1 loss to eventual champions Argentina.