Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover learns of fate for his role in pitch invasion as club take strong anti-flare stance

Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover has been cleared of any wrongdoing for throwing two flares off the pitch immediately before the dramatic invasion of the pitch that forced the Melbourne Derby to be abandoned on 17 December.

Several people have been charged over the violent incident, which saw hordes of spectators rush onto the pitch during the game, resulting in Glover being hospitalized with a concussion and requiring stitches to his face after being hit by a metal bucket .

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: The A-League pitch invasion is described as a ‘night of shame’.

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As flares were thrown onto the field, the 25-year-old returned the serve and threw back two flares, one landing in a group of spectators. That prompted around 150 fans to jump over the fence and wreak havoc on the pitch.

An independent Match Review Panel (MRP) was hired to assess the incident, sitting separately from both Football Australia and the A-League administrators, and announced the result on Tuesday.

Melbourne City’s Tom Glover picks up a flare to remove it from the pitch during the Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory game. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

“The MRP was satisfied that the incident had not escaped the referee’s attention, the MRP did not consider further whether Glover should have been sanctioned with a direct red card,” Football Australia said.

“Accordingly, the MRP did not properly cite the incident.”

Melbourne Derby referee Alex King gave the MRP a match report that helped them decide.

“Tom Glover, the goaltender, had thrown back the two flares,” reads King’s report.

“One went over hoarding behind the gate and unfortunately one went back into the crowd. I definitely don’t think this was done on purpose by Tom Glover.”

Melbourne City manager Rado Vidosic expressed his dismay at the incident earlier this week.

“It was a very sad moment for everyone involved in football that something like this could happen,” said Vidosic.

“You only really see it on TV, but being in the front row when something like this happens has an even bigger impact on people.

“Hopefully that never happens again and we can keep doing what we love and we can promote our game the best we can.”

A bleeding Tom Glover is escorted off the ground by teammates following the fan invasion. Credit: Getty Images

The 23-year-old, who allegedly assaulted Glover, has been handed a lifetime ban by Football Australia and faces charges including violent crimes and firing a rocket.

Vidosic confirmed Glover has recovered from a concussion and is ready to take the field in Tuesday night’s clash against the Central Coast Mariners.

“Tommy missed the first training sessions (last week) due to a concussion. He came back and trained in the last two training sessions, so he’s ready to go,” Vidosic told reporters on Monday.

“Everyone else is looking forward to the game. Almost 10 days have passed between the two games, so everyone is ready and we can’t wait for tomorrow.

“He (Glover) had a lot of support from the players and everyone around him here at the training sessions and he looks back to his normal (self).

“He’s been training really well and we hope everything is fine with him, but we’ll find out a bit more tomorrow when he starts the game.”

Active Melbourne City members will not be able to attend the clash, which is addressed in a statement released by the club.

“The use of flares, while committed by a small minority within our active fan base, poses a significant risk to the safety of our players, staff and the public,” the club said.

“Authorities have successfully identified and banned an active member of Melbourne City responsible for the use of flares, but as authorities are in the process of identifying the remaining culprits we have no choice but to impose restrictions on the active one impose support.

“Melbourne City is a family club and we pride ourselves on creating a fun, safe and inclusive environment.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach to the use of flares in our games, which is why we have decided to take this action.”

Football Australia has issued life bans to two fans involved in the invasion of the A-League pitch.

Football Australia has issued life bans to two fans involved in the invasion of the A-League pitch. Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover learns of fate for his role in pitch invasion as club take strong anti-flare stance

James Brien

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