Football Australia fines Melbourne Victory $5000 for slurs directed at Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo
Melbourne Victory’s proactive response has allowed it to escape with a $5000 fine over the actions of fans who yelled homophobic slurs at Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo.
But the culprits are yet to be identified and no sanctions have been imposed on them.
The Victory was sanctioned under Football Australia’s National Code of Conduct and Ethics after Cavallo was targeted by a small group of Victory supporters in the Melbourne club’s 1-1 draw with Adelaide on January 8 at AAMI Park.
“We look at all incidents on a case-by-case basis and take into consideration the totality of the situation and behaviours,” FA chief executive officer James Johnson said.
“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.”
Working in the Victory’s favour was “the club’s prompt public statement denouncing the incident”, its commitment to promote “LGBTQ+ awareness” and to “work with its supporters to take additional steps to educate other fans about diversity and inclusion”.
The club was also given the small penalty because of its commitment to ban any individuals identified as having engaged in the conduct from attending future matches.
It’s understood the culprits weren’t Victory members and are yet to be identified.
However, Johnson said the fine was proof that the Victory had to take responsibility for its fans.
“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,” he said.
Via a club statement, the Victory said it maintained a “strong stance on condemning the homophobic abuse that occurred on January 8”, and that the investigation into the matter was “ongoing”.
“The club is committed to not only fulfilling Football Australia’s measures but taking its own measures to promote LGBTQIA+ awareness and making Melbourne Victory’s match days an inclusive environment for everyone,” the statement said.
Johnson praised Cavallo for calling out the fans responsible for the slurs.
“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,” Johnson said.
FA will use the $5000 fine to invest in LGBTQ+ awareness and education initiatives in football.
“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,” Johnson said.
“We will not let the anti-social actions of a few individuals impact the enjoyment football brings to so many.”
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