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SportOpinion: AFL's stance on crowd behaviour and umpire abuse leaves fans confused

02:40  14 june  2019
02:40  14 june  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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The AFL has left its fans angered over the past week and could face more backlash if Jeff 'Joffa' Corfe has his way. It then helpfully encouraged fans The congestion remains, the scoring is even lower and there are even more reasons for fans to become frustrated with the umpires who have had a target

The AFL is sending mixed messages to fans when it claims it' s not cracking down loud and abusive spectators, writes Richard Hinds.

Opinion: AFL's stance on crowd behaviour and umpire abuse leaves fans confused© AAP: Joe Castro Many AFL supporters are unsure about what crowd behaviour the league finds acceptable. Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Another week, another reminder of McLachlan's Law of AFL governance: For every action, there is an equal and opposite overreaction.

Opinion: AFL's stance on crowd behaviour and umpire abuse leaves fans confused
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This time it is the AFL's crackdown on loud and abusive spectators that has confused fans of Australia's most popular spectator sport, not least because the league claims there is no crackdown.

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This time it is the AFL ’ s crackdown on loud and abusive spectators that has confused fans of In quasi-legal terms, the fan has 120 years of umpire - abusing precedent to support the case that This, incidentally, leaves open the question whether the AFL have considered the toxic fallout from the first

The AFL ’ s Indigenous games record holder called out a young Collingwood fan for a racist AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says he took too long to comment about the booing, while then-chairman The Goodes documentary will have its first public screening on 7 June at the Sydney Film Festival.

Well, not on paper. Just if you happen to breach some nebulous guideline about behaviour that the AFL does not feel obliged to explain even while you are being ushered to the exit by a security guard who doesn't particularly care if he spills your beer or hot chips.

If messages about what constitutes acceptable behaviour at AFL matches were not already mixed, they are murkier than a coal miner's bath water after a Carlton fan was ejected from Docklands last Saturday for reportedly calling umpire Mathew Nicholls a "bald-headed flog" within earshot of the follicle-depleted official.

We should hasten to add that despite the predictable "PC gone mad" defence launched by enraged fellow supporters, football fans should have no more right to abuse officials from such relatively close quarters than they have to relieve themselves on the goal posts.

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The AFL insists it hasn't cracked down on fan behaviour despite " behavioural awareness officers" patrolling the crowd at Friday night' s game between Essendon and Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium. It follows the ejection of a supporter who allegedly ran towards umpire Mathew Nicholls while calling him.

Opinion: AFL's stance on crowd behaviour and umpire abuse leaves fans confused© AAP: Julian Smith Umpires, such as Mathew Nicholls, have been the target of spectator abuse during the season.

The need to protect the safety of umpires at all levels — and ensure their continued recruitment/retention — is obvious to anyone who has looked into the frightened eyes of young officials at junior games as they run the gauntlet of disgruntled and sometimes even deranged coaches and families.

Yet this spectator can consider himself unlucky, and not just because the sharp-eared security somehow heard his "baldist" abuse above the cacophonous thumping from the now omnipresent "fan activation" speakers.

In quasi-legal terms, the fan has 120 years of umpire-abusing precedent to support the case that supporters are entitled to blame their team's inept play, the hole in their betting accounts, some strife with the missus or a day-time drinking problem on the performance of the umpires — whether those umpires be as bald as bandicoots or luxuriously bouffant.

AFL responds to 'bald-headed flog' drama at Carlton-Brisbane clash

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AFL umpire Ray Chamberlain. Credit:ninevms. McLachlan repeated that the AFL has not enforced a crack down or harder line on fan behaviour . Within the AFL , there' s a view that reporting of ugly crowd incidents earlier this year - such as fights at the Carlton-Richmond season opener and round

2019 Richard Hinds, " AFL ' s stance on crowd behaviour and umpire abuse leaves fans confused ", ABC News Australia (June 15, 2019). Yet this spectator can consider himself unlucky, and not just because the sharp-eared security somehow heard his "baldist" abuse above the cacophonous

This history of abuse, and a rising tide of violence at AFL matches, is why the AFL executive needed to deliver a clear and unequivocal message to the game's supporters to ensure that there was no misunderstanding about its intentions when down it cracked.

And I'm sure they would have done just that had they not been locked in a bunker trying to escape the fallout from the first of two damning Adam Goodes documentaries that have done for the AFL's reputation what the Hindenburg disaster did for the airship manufacturing industry.

Opinion: AFL's stance on crowd behaviour and umpire abuse leaves fans confused© AAP: Joel Carrett The AFL was strongly criticised for how it handled the booing of Adam Goodes.

This, incidentally, leaves open the question whether the AFL have considered the toxic fallout from the first of those documentaries, The Final Quarter, and particularly the way it failed as an organisation to act strongly on crowd behaviour, and have somehow come up with a response to current non-race related incidents that misses the point almost as badly as their response to the vile vilification of Goodes.

AFL sending mixed messages to fans

If possible, the AFL's position became even more confusing upon the release of a statement on Wednesday, which failed to explain why the Carlton supporter was ejected, what he said, what rule he breached to earn an official warning and whether others would be kicked out for doing whatever it was he did.

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The AFL ’ s hard line stance over fan abuse has gone to the next level at Marvel Stadium on “ Fans were standing around in shock as security converged to make sure that fan exited Marvel Stadium.” The AFL has denied there is a crackdown on fan behaviour , but it will receive an incident report from

You will find five Australian urban areas with a populace of more than Several people. Sydney (4, 627, 345) Australia’s most crowded city offers the world’s most huge characteristic harbor. Nick Tsagaris- AFL ' s Stance on Crowd Behaviour and Umpire Abuse Leaves Fans Confused .

It then helpfully encouraged fans to "barrack as loud as you can" while also warning them they would also be evicted if they breached the guidelines they had failed to explain.

Got that everyone?

The worst consequence of the AFL's sudden intrusion into fan behaviour is not that otherwise well-behaved fans could be swarmed by security for whispering their slight disgruntlement at the height of the most recent centre bounce.

The AFL has not yet reached the A-League stage of crowd policing where laws designed to curb violent hooligans are now aggressively applied to spectators crossing into non-authorised areas to check the suitability of the toilets for use by their disabled daughters.

The worst consequence of the AFL crackdown-but-not-a-crackdown is that it has given those supporters who are most likely to behave in the kind of offensive and antisocial manner that deserves punishment a platform upon which to justify their worst excesses under the catch-all "Nanny State gone mad" banner.

You can hear them wallow "you can't even carry a loaded shotgun in the non-drinking area anymore", as they are accosted by security in weeks to come.

Opinion: AFL's stance on crowd behaviour and umpire abuse leaves fans confused© AAP: Joe Castro The presence of police and security at AFL matches has been in the spotlight in recent weeks. But the AFL's failure to sell its message, or even acknowledge the problems created by some of its botched solutions, is becoming an unfortunate hallmark of an organisation that, for two decades, could rightly boast about its peerless administrative strike rate.

The other most obvious example of McLachlan's Law is the stuffed grab bag of regulations, interpretations, gut-feels and tosses-of-the-coin now laughingly referred to as the "Laws of Australian Football".

Presented with the choice to react to sensibly and conservatively to the game's awful congestion by further reducing interchange numbers or correctly interpreting existing rules such as those governing correct disposal, the AFL instead created yet another layer of technical infringements that has made umpiring even more difficult.

The result? The congestion remains, the scoring is even lower and there are even more reasons for fans to become frustrated with the umpires who have had a target painted on their backs by the officials very well paid to protect them.

Read more

AFL boss to front media over crowd saga.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan will front a media conference the day after saying he is appalled if fans feel threatened by increased security.

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