Etihad Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
"Hooligans" who let off flares at sports matches will be fined more than $1000, and fans running onto sporting fields can be banned from stadiums for up to five years under new laws to be introduced to state parliament.
Crowd behaviour at A-League games in Melbourne has captured headlines recently with a spate of flares being set off and seats being destroyed at the Melbourne derby last month. There have also been reports of police being assaulted at games.
Premier Ted Baillieu and Sports Minister Hugh Delahunty said the laws were designed to ensure punters had a good experience at events and that Melbourne maintained its status as an international sporting mecca.
The government denied the laws were a reaction to recent reports, saying they had been working on the legislation for some time.
New laws include:
- Increasing the penalties for lighting a flare to $1056 and possession of a flare to $704.
- Adding invading the pitch, damaging the field and refusing to comply with ejection notices to the list of offences that punters can be banned from venues for up to five years.
- Giving authorities powers to crackdown on anti-social behaviour around Docklands Stadium [not just within the arena], particularly with a focus on flares.
- Strengthening police powers at events.
- Adding Spring Racing Carnival events to the list of annual events covered by the laws.
The laws also add an on-the-spot fine of $704 for the unauthorised onselling or advertising of five or fewer tickets to protected events at a price above face value.
"Hooligans who light flares, 'invade the pitch', damage the venue or destroy chairs will now face tough penalties," Mr Baillieu said.
Mr Delahunty said that long awaited anti-match fixing legislation would be introduced soon.