Soccer violence erupts in Noble Park

Video footage of spectators running on the Ross Reserve pitch during the fights.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Police are investigating a violent brawl that erupted on the pitch and sidelines of a soccer game at Ross Reserve, Noble Park on Friday night (2 August).

In wild scenes, about 50 spectators invaded the arena at the Springvale City-Sandown Lions State League 4 clash at the 88th minute.

A Springvale City senior player reportedly had his front teeth knocked out during the riot and required dental surgery.

Police, including its Public Order Response Team, were called to Memorial Drive about 10.15pm. A 23-year-old man was struck by a rock and declined medical attention, police say.

Greater Dandenong councillor Tim Dark has called on the council to ban both clubs from playing on council reserves, pending Football Victoria’s investigation into the riot.

“On Friday night, both were to blame for what occurred. Neither team should play this weekend.

“Until we can investigate what factors were behind it, the risk is too great to have them playing on City of Greater Dandenong reserves where patrons are watching soccer and put at risk.”

He said associates of both clubs were “to blame” for the violence. Several players were bleeding and some sheltered in the pavilion.

“The ground went into lockdown.”

Cr Dark said he’d previously raised issues about Sandown Lions fans such as abuse hurled at young families and spectators from opposition.

Sandown Lions secretary Bol Luak said the club would not comment, pending Football Victoria’s findings.

“We submitted a match report to Football Victoria so we’re waiting for them to investigate.

“At this stage the club has decided not to make an official statement to the media. We don’t want to jeopardise the investigation.”

Mr Luak said Cr Dark’s call for a temporary ban was not “absolutely necessary”. He alluded to a game involving Springvale City being called off due to a brawl earlier this season.

Springvale City player Steven Sharifi told reporters that the player who lost his teeth had been trying to break up the fights.

“It was just horrendous. It’s not something you want to see on a soccer pitch.

“Someone needs to take action.”

A spectator, who described himself as from a “rival club”, said there were “people at fault on both ends”.

“Probably wasn’t a good idea to play the game at night or with a lack of security presence. It is a shame because there was no issue to the 88th minute or so.”

Football Victoria chief executive Peter Filopoulos said FV had “zero tolerance” for anti-social conduct at matches.

“We are always concerned to hear of any allegations raised and treat misconduct matters very seriously.

“FV is committed to ensuring that community football matches uphold community standards and provide a safe and family-friendly environment, which allows players, officials and spectators to enjoy and respect the game.”

A spectator, who described himself as from a “rival club”, said there were “people at fault on both ends”.

“Probably wasn’t a good idea to play the game at night or with a lack of security presence. It is a shame because there was no issue to the 88th minute or so.”

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