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Marvel Stadium to review ‘intimidating’ AFL security measures
Management at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium will review security procedures after the AFL venue’s Chief Executive conceded some fans felt intimidated by the more-visible security presence.
With crowd behaviour at AFL fixtures in the spotlight in recent weeks, the venue has increased patrolling of the aisles by guards but deny putting on extra security personnel as has been reported.
However, moves have caused a fan backlash with fans taking to talkback radio and social media over the weekend to complain about a heavy-handed security presence at the venue, with some reporting they were told by guards they were barracking too loudly.
Amid growing unrest, which peaked last week after a Carlton supporter was ejected from Marvel Stadium for calling an umpire a “bald-headed flog”, Australian Associated Press has reported AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan denying issuing a directive to crackdown on fan behaviour.
Marvel Stadium Chief Executive Michael Green backed that assertion when he spoke to Melbourne’s SEN on Sunday, when he explained that the new measures were part of the venue’s response to incidents of crowd violence over the past 12 months.
Green explained “we haven’t had any direction or requests to increase our security or policing at AFL events, nor have we done.
“But what we have done over the last number of weeks is increase our visual presence of our security. Clearly, from (the feedback) we’ve taken that too far.
“We don’t want our fans to feel intimidated by security. We actually want them to feel safe and secure, so it’s something that we will be reviewing to make sure that we get that balance right.”
Pictures circulated via social media on Saturday showing members of the venue’s security team wearing 'behavioural awareness officer' bibs.
Green said the officers had been in place all season and explained they are guards who have received extra training in identifying and diffusing problems in the crowd.
He said the new security measures had helped quickly quell an ugly confrontation between fans after the final siren of Saturday night’s clash between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton.
The AFL Fans Association continued its campaign for greater clarity from the AFL on the issue in a statement released on Sunday.
AFLFA President Gerry Eeman commented “violence, umpire abuse and threatening behaviour are never OK.
“But some fans are telling us that they feel they can’t express themselves at games in the same way they did in the past.
“A balance needs to be struck between protecting patrons from the small minority who cause problems and allowing the vast majority of well-behaved fans to express their passion. There is nothing wrong with barracking loudly for your team and there is nothing wrong with being passionate.”
25th August 2018 - Further AFL fan violence prompts Adelaide Oval investigation
23rd July 2018 - Geelong brawl will not lead to AFL segregating fans
14th May 2017 - AFL fans dies at MCG: two others critical in separate incidents
13th April 2017 - Racist abuse from fans ‘wrecking’ AFL says Adelaide star Eddie Betts
26th September 2015 - Perth Stadium Management condemn fan violence at Domain Stadium
22nd August 2014 - AFL puts the focus on fans
11th February 2010 - AFL fans the focus of new research
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