The football community across Australia has been quick to condemn the violent altercation between a minority of fans at the Rockdale Suns v Sydney United NPL NSW clash at the Ilinden Sports Centre today.
With both clubs vying to be part of the proposed National Second Division, AAFC Chairman Nick Galatas went on the front foot, condemning the behaviour of the fans.
“A very disappointing and concerning incident outside the ground after the game. We're aware the police are investigating the incident so there's nothing more we can add, save to condemn any criminal conduct following any football match.”
The match ended 0-0 but the incident overshadowed a match that was a replay of last years grand final. Flares, bread crates, tables and other items were thrown with at least one fan carrying a large knife. Disturbing videos and photos have quickly made there way through social media.
A Rockdale fan who was at the game, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke of the scary incident.
“It kicked off inside the ground, then made its way to the gates," they said. "It was shocking stuff.
"Both sets of fans were to blame as they were baiting each other. The police arrived pretty quickly. Not a good way to commemorate ANZAC Day.
“It was a minority of fans as usual. Most were enjoying the day and the game. It’s devastating to see this.”
Rockdale issued a statement post game on their Facebook page:
“The club is aware of incidents at the conclusion of today’s NPL fixture v Sydney United. The matter is the subject of a police investigation and as such we will not be commenting further pending completion of that investigation, suffice to say that the Club strongly does not condone anti social and criminal behaviour.”
The incident is a rarity in modern times in Australia. The NPL around the country has seen healthy attendance with most games seeing family friendly environments as clubs move swiftly to curb anti-social behaviour.