Heavy penal­ties for footy fra­cas

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - NEWS - Matt Zis

A TEENAGE foot­baller who punched an um­pire dur­ing a fra­cas af­ter his side’s grand fi­nal loss last month has been banned from play­ing for seven years in one of the big­gest penal­ties ever handed down to a ju­nior player.

Two of his team­mates from the Bel­mont Red­cliffe Jets un­der-15 team also won’t be al­lowed to play in 2019 af­ter be­ing sus­pended for an en­tire year for mak­ing in­ten­tional con­tact with an um­pire.

The three teenagers fronted a com­mu­nity foot­ball tri­bunal last Tues­day af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the af­ter­math of their clash with South Perth Stingrays on Septem­ber 16.

The match at Mills Park in Beck­en­ham was de­scribed by wit­nesses as a pow­derkeg wait­ing to ex­plode, with Bel­mont Red­cliffe los­ing two play­ers to in­jury dur­ing the game be­fore their play­ers were in­volved in the ugly end­ing.

South Perth Stingrays com­pre­hen­sively won the pre­mier­ship de­cider 13.3 (81) to 5.12 (42) but their cel­e­bra­tions were some­what di­min­ished by the events af­ter the whis­tle.

The Jets – a com­bi­na­tion team from the Bel­mont and Red­cliffe ju­nior clubs – had lost only once dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son but the mi­nor premiers also dropped their qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal against fourth-placed South Perth three weeks be­fore the grand fi­nal re­match.

A Bel­mont Red­cliffe rep­re­sen­ta­tive ac­cepted the play­ers’ ac­tions af­ter the fi­nal siren were to­tally un­ac­cept­able and dis­ap­point­ing.

He said team of­fi­cials had con­sid­ered ask­ing the game be called off af­ter an in­jury to one of their play­ers at a time when the re­sult was not in doubt and ten­sions were es­ca­lat­ing.

Shortly af­ter, the game was stopped as an­other in­jured player was taken to hos­pi­tal in an am­bu­lance and wear­ing a neck brace.

WA Foot­ball Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Gavin Tay­lor said the sus­pended play­ers had shown re­morse for their ac­tions and had been of­fered sup­port as they came to terms with their lengthy bans.

Their sus­pen­sions cov­ered a mul­ti­tude of charges, in­clud­ing abu­sive lan­guage to­wards an um­pire, threat­en­ing be­hav­iour to­wards an um­pire, in­ten­tional con­tact with an um­pire, and strik­ing an um­pire.

Mr Tay­lor said it was for­tu­nate the um­pire was not se­ri­ously in­jured.

He said the penal­ties sent a clear mes­sage that um­pire abuse would not be tol­er­ated.

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