Umpire Mathew Nicholls was the target of an angry Carlton fan. Picture: Michael Klein
Umpire Mathew Nicholls was the target of an angry Carlton fan. Picture: Michael Klein

AFL rules on ‘bald-headed flog’ fan

THE AFL insisted on Wednesday that there had been no crackdown on fan behaviour, as it delivered its verdict on a Carlton fan who called an umpire a "bald-headed flog".

The league made the statement despite a spate of recent incidents involving supporters being singled out for comments in the crowd.

The AFL issued a statement saying the Blues fan had received a warning and would not suffer any further punishment.

"The AFL has today concluded its investigation into an incident involving an umpire and a patron at the round 12 match between Carlton and the Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium on Saturday," the statement read.

"Marvel Stadium security were alerted to a patron who was leaning over the umpire's race and abusing umpire Mathew Nicholls as he was leaving the ground at half-time."

In a lengthy statement the AFL outlined a series of directives for how fans should conduct themselves.

There was, however, no list of banned words and phrases, with fans in the dark over the use of such terms as "flog" and "maggot".

"The theatre of match day is one of the great sporting experiences, a place to be expressive and passionate about your team and the game, it always has been, it always will be," the statement continued.

In season 2019 there had been no change to the expectations of the behaviour of everyone at games, the statement said.

"We want fans to enjoy attending matches and allow other fans around them to do the same.

"While barracking and supporting is both strongly encouraged and a vital part of the game, offensive or aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated.

"Fans who consume alcohol on a match day are to do so responsibly.

"The AFL's zero tolerance stance on vilification remains.

The ejected man phoned radio talkback after the Blues' win against Brisbane to say he had been escorted from the stadium by police and security after taking aim at umpire Mathew Nichols.

"That was me and all I said was: 'You can't (handball) one-handed, you bald-headed flog','' the caller told 3AW.

"He's just pretty much stamped his hand on the side of the wall there, pointed at the security guard and sort of chucked a hissy fit.

"There were security guards standing pretty close to me and they heard everything as well and as I was being escorted to the back of the ground they said, (there) is nothing we can do, this is management policy.

"I actually chose my words and made sure I didn't swear because there's kids around, so it's pretty embarrassing from the AFL.

"They've made me wait half an hour for an AFL integrity officer to come and take a photo of myself and my membership then I got escorted from the ground by the police and security. I was pretty annoyed."

The caller added: "Going by last week's (incident) with the Richmond (fan) I'm guessing I'm missing the next three weeks, maybe even longer - I don't know."

A Richmond supporter was banned for three matches for allegedly calling an umpire a "green maggot" on Anzac Day eve.

 

The issue led the Richmond cheer squad to send a memo to its members that included the line: "We ask that cheer squad members refrain from making any derogatory comments towards anyone, be it on field or off."

The Blues were also sent a "please explain" recently when some of its fans were heard singing "the umpire's a wanker" .

AFL STATEMENT IN FULL

The AFL has today concluded its investigation into an incident involving an umpire and a patron at the round 12 match between Carlton and the Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

Marvel Stadium security were alerted to a patron who was leaning over the umpire's race and abusing umpire Mathew Nicholls as he was leaving the ground at halftime.

The patron was spoken to by both Marvel Stadium security and Victoria Police and subsequently removed from the venue for the remainder of the game.

The patron has received a warning and no further action will be taken.

The AFL and our venues want to create a safe and fun environment for all fans to come to and enjoy the football.

For over 100 years, the footy has been a place to come together, barrack, cheer and share in the experience in whichever way you choose.

There has been no directive from the AFL to change this.

The theatre of match day is one of the great sporting experiences, a place to be expressive and passionate about your team and the game, it always has been, it always will be.

In season 2019 there has been no change to the expectations of the behavior of everyone at games.

We want fans to enjoy attending matches and allow other fans around them to do the same.

While barracking and supporting is both strongly encouraged and a vital part of the game, offensive or aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated.

Fans who consume alcohol on a match day are to do so responsibly.

The AFL's zero tolerance stance on vilification remains.

Stadiums and police across the country have a zero-tolerance for members or supporters that abuse the opposition, umpires and other members and supporters, on grounds of race, religion, gender, disability and sexuality.

Fans who breach the conditions of entry may face consequences.

Anyone involved in football at any level, from the community to the elite should be able to enjoy the game in a safe and inclusive environment.

The AFL's message to everyone is clear - come to the footy, barrack as loud as you can, enjoy the game and do so in a responsible manner.

News Corp Australia


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