Melbourne City coach Rado Vidosic is adamant goalkeeper Tom Glover showed no “malice” in throwing a flare into a crowd of Melbourne Victory supporters during last month’s AAMI Park derby that was subsequently abandoned.
Since the incident, which included the assault of Glover, a host of Victory fans have been banned – three for life – from all football-related activities in Australia, while the club has been heavily sanctioned by Football Australia.
Glover avoided punishment for throwing a flare, which had been hurled towards him, back into the crowd, an action that led to the pitch invasion.
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Referee Alex King, who was also assaulted in the invasion, wrote in his match report that he didn’t believe Glover’s intention was for the flare he threw to land among Victory fans.
Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said this week that Glover “gets off on this occasion”.
However, Johnson also said: “We do need some protocols to educate players about (flares) and that’s something our taskforce will look at.”
Vidosic said referee King had been “very close” to Glover at the time and would have booked the goalkeeper had he believed there had been intent in throwing the flare.
“I don’t think that there was any malice in it,” Vidosic said.
“He (Glover) was just annoyed that those flares were thrown at the pitch instead of maybe just behind the advertising boards, where there is this bucket with sand and it’s easy to put it out.
“It is what it is. We move on. Tommy is fully recovered. Hopefully, things like that will never happen again in Australian football.”
“We are happy that it’s over. We are happy now that we can just concentrate on the football ahead of us, and I think same with Melbourne Victory, we need to forget about that incident and move on.”
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The abandoned match will be completed in April, with the contest to resume in the 22nd minute with City leading 1-0 courtesy of an Aiden O’Neill goal.
“He (O’Neill) is the happiest out of all of us. He’s got his goal, which was a fantastic goal,” Vidosic said.
“It’s not something that we needed, three games in one week, whenever that is. Obviously, we’re going to have several players who are going to go to play for the national team in the FIFA window (in March).
“Some of them may play two games in that window, so it just adds up. It was definitely something that we did not need, but we will turn up and we will finish off the game.”