Football fans are again in the firing line after police took aim at "hardcore, problematic" supporters following Sunday's A-League grand final in Melbourne.
Capsicum spray was used to subdue two men when about 40 Melbourne Victory supporters reportedly descended on the Beer DeLuxe at Federation Square where Sydney FC fans gathered following the home side’s 3-0 triumph.
After the incident Victoria Police Commander Brett Guerin took to the airwaves, making disparaging comparisons between AFL and some football fans.
Guerin told Melbourne radio station 3AW: "Unfortunately, we need to put a police presence at some soccer games ... that is completely disproportionate to any other sporting event that we attend.
“There are things that go on at some soccer games by some soccer fans – lighting flares, jumping on seats, flooding aisles – that are anathema to AFL.
"We never have to roster dozens of police to escort the cheer squads of AFL clubs into the MCG. Can you imagine the outcry if we had to escort Hawthorn and West Coast Eagles fans, keeping them apart before the game, it would be a disgrace to a national game."
A total of seven people were arrested and 21 ejected from a packed AAMI Park. No flares were lit inside the stadium and police commended the majority of football fans on their behaviour.
Guerin added: "What occurred was after the game, around eight o'clock, a number of Sydney fans had retired (to the pub) to drown their sorrows presumably and they were confronted by around 40 Melbourne Victory active supporters who, according to my officers, were pretty intent on having a blue.
"Fortunately, we had more than enough police officers to manage that situation. However, two of the supporters we sprayed and they were arrested and charged with riotous behaviour.
"Any time a person is sprayed by a police officer in a physical confrontation is pretty serious…(but) it was subdued very quickly."
Guerin also brought up a banned tifo created by Melbourne fans that depicted men reportedly wearing balaclavas.
"(It had) absolutely nothing to do with football and everything to do with disguising yourself while you undertake some criminal activity," he said.
"That's the mindset we're talking about with a very small but influential, active supporter group within Melbourne Victory.
"The difference with soccer of course is that the minority is a problematic and persistent minority. You have a minority of course that stuff up at AFL games and other sporting events, but the minority in the soccer is a really hardcore, problematic group."comments