Finals behaviour memo

03 September 2013

It was a tremendous start to our 2013 finals series with already four clubs promoted.

Congratulations to Old Brighton, Mazenod, Hampton Rovers and Yarra Valley who won their second semi final and will be playing in Premier, Premiers B and C and Division 1 in 2014.  Well done in particular to Ron Garlepp and his team at Yarra Valley who have completed the double jump. Another eight teams will experience the same thrill on the weekend.

There are two issues that I would like you to communicate with your players and supporters.  Firstly is to their behaviour towards our gatekeepers.  At some of the grounds on the weekend they were insulted by supporters using foul language and at times threatening insults.  We are the only senior competition in the state that doesn’t charge the spectators on a weekly basis and unfortunately many of them feel they have the right to watch VAFA finals for free and in turn abuse our gatekeepers. It is also distressing that they target teenage girls and women. Disregarding how important financially this is to the Association it is upsetting to the gatekeepers, many of whom are volunteers, who go home contemplating why they should continue in the role.

The gatekeepers have been advised not to allow entry to anybody who behaves in an aggressive manner and immediately contact the ground manager.  He will then assist the gatekeeper and if the issue is not solved then the police will be called.  We do not want to get to the stage where we have to have security guards at each of our venues.  As I mentioned at the recent members meeting, the VAFA spends approximately $10,000 on security during finals compared to $100,000 at neighboring metropolitan leagues.

The other area where players need to be cautioned is in their use of social media.  Clubs losing matches and letting out their emotions on the various blogs and social sites causes extreme embarrassment to clubs and individuals. The VAFA has a social media policy available on our website which states: 

Any VAFA member who is found to have sent inappropriate electronic communication, uploaded inappropriate website content or engaged in blogs that harass, offend, intimidate or humiliate may face disciplinary action.

Members publishing false or misleading comments about another person in a public domain may be suspended from games or official positions which will be determined at the discretion of the VAFA.

There is also a racial and religious vilification policy published on our website. Please ensure all your players understand our policies and are aware of their consequences.

The finals are a time of great enjoyment for all to enjoy.  Please ensure your players and supporters fully understand their responsibilities as a member of the VAFA.

Thank you for your continued co-operation.

Michael Sholly