Lessons must be learnt from le­nient tri­bunal sen­tence

South Western Times - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Name and ad­dress sup­plied

FOR those who won­dered why the po­lice were asked to in­ves­ti­gate an in­ci­dent on a foot­ball field in­stead of leav­ing it in the hands of the South West Foot­ball League Tri­bunal, here it is.

A six-week sus­pen­sion for a de­lib­er­ate knee to the head caus­ing five breaks in­clud­ing the eye socket – the ab­so­lute min­i­mum they could hand down – what kind of de­ter­rent is that?

Footy play­ers are al­ways scuf­fling, punch­ing and bump­ing each other but gen­er­ally both par­ties are aware they are in­volved in some­thing. Un­for­tu­nately, it’s be­come an ac­cepted part of the game but this wasn’t even in that realm of stu­pid­ity.

This was a man knee­ing an­other man in the head and it could have had a very dif­fer­ent out­come.

The league said the tri­bunal had to wait un­til af­ter the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion to not prej­u­dice a trial. Why? This wasn’t a case of he said, he said.

The vic­tim had no mem­ory of the in­ci­dent and re­lied on wit­nesses to tell him what hap­pened.

It was an off-ball attack wit­nessed by three um­pires plus other play­ers. He didn’t even see it com­ing, pretty black and white I thought. This should have been dealt with im­me­di­ately to show that the league won’t tol­er­ate this be­hav­iour.

The Col­lie Ea­gles Foot­ball Club want­ing to sup­port their cap­tain is com­pletely un­der­stand­able, but why did they de­fend him so ve­he­mently with com­plete knowl­edge of his ac­tions?

Ev­ery­one makes mis­takes, even good guys, so why didn’t they en­cour­age him to own this one, to say sorry, ac­cept the con­se­quences and move on? At least if he’d done that, he would still de­serve that cap­tain’s badge.

I am yet to hear the league or the CEFC condemn this in­ci­dent, nor have I heard an apol­ogy from Mr Black­ford, but still I hope he’s learnt some­thing from this and moves on.

The weeks af­ter the in­jury were very drain­ing for the vic­tim’s fam­ily and I’m sure this has been a try­ing time for Mr Black­ford’s fam­ily also.

I be­lieve the SWFL needs some new blood and some new pro­ce­dures be­cause it’s clear what they’re do­ing now doesn’t work and I hope at least in­ter­nally the CEFC have dis­cussed this be­tween them­selves and de­cided they won’t al­low it again.

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