A Letter to our members and fans

Dear Victory members and fans,

Firstly, we wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for your loyalty and support over the past month.  It has been a tough time for everyone involved with the Club, both internally and externally.

Words cannot express how grateful we are that you have stuck by us and that we have so many people that care so deeply about our Club, particularly as many of you have been affected by the various events that have occurred that you played no part in.

Up until this point, we have been unable to fully share with you all that has happened and the next steps around the impact of the sanctions handed down by Football Australia on each of you.

Now that we can, we thought it was important to share with you what has unfolded and the future for the Club including the background on a number of issues that you would have read about over the last few weeks.

These include:

  • the impact of the A-League Grand Final relocation decision
  • the incidents that occurred at the pre-Christmas Melbourne derby including the resulting sanctions which have, and will, flow as a result; and
  • the news that our marquee signing will be out for the remainder of season 2022/23.

Impact of the A-League Grand Final Decision

We want to make it clear that the Club stood with its fans in relation to the A-Leagues decision to relocate both the A-League Men’s and A-League Women’s Grand Finals to Sydney for the next three seasons, starting this season.

While we, as a Club, cannot comment on what happens at APL Board meetings publicly, we have been clear that we wanted the decision to be paused and reconsidered after appropriate stakeholder engagement.

That said, the decision continues to have the support of the majority of Clubs and accordingly our job now is to work with the League so that in three years’ time, we can ensure that all opportunities are re-assessed in a manner that has the football fans at the forefront.

The Melbourne Derby on Saturday 17 December

First and foremost, it is important to note again that the Club in no way condones the behaviour of those that forced the abandonment of the Derby on 17 December 2022. There is no place at our Club or in football for these people nor this behaviour.

While active support is an integral part of our game and unique to our sport, we need to make sure we can embrace an active supporter group that respects the Club and brings the noise in a safe and acceptable manner and this will take time.

In terms of our interim sanctions, it is important that you understand the Club did not, and would never, lock out its own members. The requirement to tarp the middle bays at our round 11 match against Brisbane last week and to not re-allocate, but simply prevent North End members from attending while relocating our South End members, was solely a result of FA’s sanctions.

This week, we also received our final sanctions.  Each member impacted by these sanctions, being the North End and South End active bays, will be contacted directly to explain how we will manage the changes from an operational perspective. We are pleased that we can get every member, as well as our fans, back into the stadium starting with our U-NITE match on Thursday 26 January against Sydney FC.

The sanctions which impact our members, over and above the financial and competition points penalties, are as follows:

  • The first three rows of the North End and South End,  will be tarped for the balance of the season. In Aisle 38, North End, there will be a further 7 rows (rows A-J) which will also be tarped.
  • Patrons must be a Club member to sit in the North End and South End active bays. No daily ticket sales are permitted.
  • North End and South End members must redeem a seat for every home game and are only entitled to redeem in groups of four. If you are a family which ordinarily sits together in more than a group of four, then you will need to contact us to redeem your seats each week (with a maximum group of 6 permitted). If you are ordinarily located in the active bays (bays 37 to 39 and 16 to 18) but would like to relocate to another area of the stadium, please also let us know and we can assist you with that prior to our U-NITE match on 26 January.
  • General admission holders, who are not North End or South End active members, will also be required to redeem a ticket for each game. Tickets can also be purchased into GA, but all general admission holders, members or ticket holders, must be allocated a reserved seat.
  • Ticket redemptions required from members in order to comply with the sanctions will be provided at the Club’s cost.
  • There will be no dedicated away bay for the remainder of the 2022/23 A-League Men season and Melbourne Victory supporters will be dispersed throughout away stadiums for the balance of the season in groups of 4. This will be managed by the home team of those games with the League.
  • No active support concessions will be permitted for the remainder of the 2022/23 A-League Men season and any active support will be subject to the above North End restrictions.
  • The 2022/23 A-League Men’s Round 8 abandoned match between Melbourne City FC and Melbourne Victory FC on Saturday 17 December 2022 will be replayed in or around April 2023, as determined by the League, from the 22nd minute with a 1-0 score line in favour of Melbourne City. This will be an away game for us, and we are in the process of speaking to Melbourne City about how tickets from the abandoned match will be dealt with.

We appreciate that this may mean a different redemption process and potentially a different looking entry, which our membership team will explain in further detail once confirmed.

As much as we wish this wasn’t the case we appreciate your assistance in this process so that we can adhere to the FA sanction and ensure our games are a safe environment for all.

777 Partnership

We were excited in early October, on the eve of the season, to announce our partnership with 777 Partners.

The reality is, it has been a hard road recovering from COVID for most sports around the world, and our Club made a decision to invest in our business with a view that the recovery period may take up to 3 years, as we headed into FY22.

As part of this, our focus has been on developing our football programs which includes running a full men’s and boys academy and fighting hard to ensure we receive a licence from Football Victoria to do the same in our women’s pathway programs.  We have also adopted the Afghan Women’s Team and increased our community engagement programs to leave a positive impact on the community.

In order to grow the Club long term and be able to create a true pathway for players while strengthening its capital base, the Board began a process to consider a strategic investment partner which was confirmed with the announcement of 777 Partners.  

777 Partners, albeit a minority shareholder, has already been working closely with us on recruitment and pathways across its network which includes Sevilla FC, Genoa C.F.C, Standard de Liege, Red Star F.C. and CR Vasco da Gama which will soon be joined by Hertha BSC.

The important thing to know is that regardless of the percentage of ownership of 777 Partners, we are and always will be Melbourne Victory, we just now have a strategic investor that allows us to accelerate our growth and create a truly sustainable, well rounded, and internationally recognised football Club.

Nani’s injury

As you would all have read, our super marquee, Luis Nani has unfortunately suffered an ACL injury that will see him out for the balance of season 2022/23.

We are sad to see Nani sidelined, but we are lucky that with our 777 Partners partnership, we are able to work with an international network to help recruit a replacement that will help elevate the boys for the balance of the season.

In closing, we are only at the beginning of what was always a three-year journey, that commenced in FY22, which will see Melbourne Victory be a force in Australian football.  We firmly believe Melbourne Victory will be stronger as a result of all our learned experiences and are excited about the path we are on and our new strategic direction.

Thank you again for joining us on this journey and we appreciate your support and loyalty.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Di Pietro

Caroline Carnegie
Managing Director