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Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory blame rival fans for A-League disturbances
Western Sydney Wanderers have blamed Melbourne Victory supporters for sparking the violent street brawl before Saturday's match between the two teams.
The Wanderers have also backed their supporter base while condemning the behaviour of a small group of fans among the 1,500 travelling supporters who made the trip to Melbourne at the weekend.
With the two teams set to meet at AAMI Park again on 14th January, Melbourne Victory yesterday (Monday 30th December) called on the Football Federation Australia (FFA) to "take the strongest possible action" to clamp down on hooliganism.
The Wanderers responded today (Tuesday 31st December), issuing a statement reiterating their commitment to ensuring a "safe, fun-filled environment" for all fans and the team's matches.
The statement continued "the club maintains a zero tolerance towards anti-social behaviour and continues to work strongly with all key stakeholders including Police, FFA, venue(s) and its active supporter leadership group on a daily basis to implement strategies to remove such behaviour from the game."
However, the Wanderers' statement suggested that Victory supporters were partly responsible for incidents in Melbourne which reportedly left eight people hospitalised.
The statement added "the club fully supports any call for severe sanctioning of any individual identified as being involved in anti-social behaviour and is committed to working in collaboration with the Melbourne Victory Football Club and all relevant stakeholders to identify any individual involved either at the match or in the unfortunate incident triggered by some Melbourne Victory fans at the Wanderers pre-match Hotel function."
The Wanderers noted that it had sent five senior staff to the match in Melbourne to lend support with match day operations including fan behaviour as evidence of its commitment to fan security and safety, adding "Western Sydney Wanderers will not shy away from its full responsibility for the behaviour of any fan that can be directly linked to the club."
The statement concluded "(Western Sydney Wanderers) reaffirms its full support of its 16,700 members who continue to set a new benchmark for fan support in any sporting code in the country and will not let the actions of an absolute minority stand in the way of this recognition.
"The 1,500 Wanderers fans in attendance at Saturday's match who demonstrated exemplary behaviour is a greater reflection of the club's values and culture than the five or six individuals who chose to demonstrate completely unacceptable behaviour.
"The club also further notes that it has a virtually unblemished record of fan behaviour at its matches this year and will be seeking to establish a co-operative and collaborative approach with the Melbourne Victory Football Club to better understand and identify what may have been the catalysts for the events of Saturday and in so doing identify the necessary preventive strategies to ensure that such events do not occur in the future."
30th December 2013 - MELBOURNE VICTORY CALLS FOR FFA ACTION AGAINST WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS FANS
24th December 2012 - A-LEAGUE FAN BANNED AFTER RACIST ABUSE
21st February 2013 - VICTORIA ANNOUNCES TOUGH FINES TO CRACK DOWN ON SPORT HOOLIGANS
24th December 2012 - A-LEAGUE FAN BANNED AFTER RACIST ABUSE
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