Ju­nior footy in­quiry de­lay

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - JAMES BRESNEHAN

THE South­ern Tas­ma­nian Ju­nior Foot­ball League’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into on-field mis­con­duct in an un­der-14 match be­tween New Nor­folk and Lind­is­farne last month has been left in­com­plete af­ter a key wit­ness failed to ap­pear at its tri­bunal hear­ing.

AFL Tas­ma­nia said the tri­bunal heard “six mat­ters” last week. Four play­ers re­ceived two-match sus­pen­sions and one was found not guilty. The sixth charge was against an adult from New Nor­folk, who al­legedly went on to the field af­ter the fi­nal siren and struck a Lind­is­farne player.

A state­ment re­leased on be­half of the STJFL by AFL Tas­ma­nia said: “The fi­nal mat­ter of the six [cases] was de­ferred due to non-at­ten­dance from one of the in­di­vid­u­als re­ported. As a re­sult of non-at­ten­dance, the in­di­vid­ual is not per­mit­ted to of­fi­ci­ate in any ca­pac­ity in the STJFL un­til such time as the mat­ter is heard.”

It has been re­ported that foot­ball of­fi­cials are so fed up with abuse that the game’s gov­ern­ing body in Tas­ma­nia plans to ramp up sanc­tions against abu­sive play­ers and spec­ta­tors.

Tas­ma­nian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Kryon John- son said he would look to harden laws that gov­ern the game so ag­gres­sive spec­ta­tors can be banned or face a raft of other sanc­tions.

“There’s a lack of re­spect in so­ci­ety to­day — peo­ple be­ing abused or as­saulted go­ing about their own busi­ness and peo­ple need to stand up and say no,” Johnson said.

“It doesn’t do the brand any good, it doesn’t do the game any good and it doesn’t do the clubs any good. We have enough prob­lems get­ting um­pires as it is and if there’s no um­pires, there are no games. Peo­ple need to re­alise that.”

Tas­ma­nian Foot­ball Um­pires’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Ge­off Flack said umps would walk away from the game be­cause of con­stant abuse.

“Mea­sures will be put in place to stop this abuse and if we have to name and shame peo­ple, we will,” Mr Flack said.

“We need to deal with this in the long term and get the mes­sage out that it’s not OK.

“I hope the um­pires hang around long enough for this to hap­pen, be­cause there’s cer­tainly the po­ten­tial for them to walk away. Ul­ti­mately, it will be the play­ers who will miss out, and the spec­ta­tors will have to look for some­thing else to do on a Satur­day af­ter­noon when there’s no foot­ball.”

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