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Hoppers Crossing AFL junior finals brawls see assault on umpire

Hoppers Crossing AFL junior finals brawls see assault on umpire
August 15, 2017
Legal / Sport /

Victoria Police are investigating a brawl among angry fans at an Under 15s AFL Grand Final at Hoppers Crossing in western Melbourne on Sunday.

Reports say that an umpire was forced to “run for his life” having been attacked by players and parents from the Albion Football Club, incensed at calls late in the game that led to the Point Cook Football Club winning the game.

The aftermath of the brawl was broadcast live on Facebook, with adults scuffling and hurling abuse while teenage players reportedly had to take cover in their changerooms.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton yesterday advised that parents should not get involved in what happens on the sporting field.

Commissioner Ashton told Channel Seven “people (should) behave like reasonable adults not like idiots when they are around kids so they set the right example.”

Fairfax Media quoted spectator John Dodd advising that he saw an umpire give two 50-metre penalties against Albion, one for overstepping the mark and then another after an Albion player "mouthed off" at the official.

Dodd advised “that put him (the Point Cook player) right in the goal square. The siren went and he kicked a goal, they were a few points down and Point Cook won.

"And then, like bang, people began running onto the ground, and abusing the umpire.

"There were supporters and parents throwing punches at him. He was running away, dodging punches, and if he had fallen over I don't know what would have happened.

"He was running for his life at a junior football match, which is ridiculous."

Dodd, an AFL umpire, said the 50-metre penalties were "legitimate" and the incident "should never have happened".

Paramedics were called to the ground to treat a man, aged in his 30s, believed to be the umpire, about 4.30pm on Sunday.‚Äč An ambulance spokesman advised that he had minor injuries to his upper body but was not taken to hospital.

Western Districts Football League umpires’ spokesperson Mark Westgarth said the official gave a statement to the Western Regional Football League (WRFL) referring to his attackers as “people who don’t know how to behave”.

Westgarth advised “physically, he’s fine but emotionally he’s a bit taken aback.

“It was a fairly dramatic situation.

“People need to understand it’s a game, and a kids’ game at that.”

The aftermath of the brawl was broadcast live on Facebook by Joel Ives, with a 20-minute video showing adults scuffling and hurling abuse outside the change rooms.

In a statement the Albion Football Club advised that it does not condone violence of any type, on or off the field, explaining “we as a hardworking club are working closely with the WRFL in investigating the circumstances surrounding the Under 15's Grand Final.

"We will be making further comments once the WRFL investigation has been complete."

Junior AFL games in Victoria have seen a growing level of spectator violence this year.

In one weekend in June, there were at least three instances of spectators behaving badly at junior football games.

Former North Melbourne player Glenn Archer was charged after one of the incidents, following reports a runner was assaulted by a spectator, but Archer has denied he assaulted anyone.

Image: Two men confront each other in the aftermath of an Under 15s AFL Grand Final at Hoppers Crossing in western Melbourne on Sunday. Courtesy of 3AW via Facebook/@joel.ives3.

7th July 2017 - AFL DIVERSITY MANAGER ALI FAHOUR STEPS DOWN FOLLOWING STRIKING INCIDENT 

26th June 2017 - FORMER AFL STAR CHARGED WITH ASSAULT AT JUNIOR GAME

21st June 2016 - SUTHERLAND RUGBY LEAGUE MANAGEMENT STIFLES PUBLIC COMMENT AFTER ASSAULT ON TEENAGE REFEREE

26th September 2015 - PERTH STADIUM MANAGEMENT CONDEMN FAN VIOLENCE AT DOMAIN STADIUM

16th September 2014 - FOOTY BRAWLS PUT FOCUS ON SECURITY AND ALCOHOL MANAGEMENT AT COMMUNITY SPORTS GROUNDS 

20th September 2013 - PARENTS ENCOURAGED TO BEHAVE DURING JUNIOR SPORT FINALS

5th December 2011 - ABUSIVE SPECTATORS SENT TO ANGER MANAGEMENT CLASSES


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