Seven year ban for Belmont Redcliffe junior footballer who punched umpire

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A TEENAGE footballer who punched an umpire during a fracas after his side’s grand final loss has been banned from playing for seven years in one of the biggest penalties ever handed down to a junior player.

Two of his teammates from the Belmont Redcliffe Jets under-15 team also won’t be allowed to play in 2019 after being suspended for an entire year for making intentional contact with an umpire.

The three teenagers fronted a Community Football Tribunal last Tuesday after an investigation into the aftermath of their clash with South Perth Stingrays on September 16.

The match at Mills Park in Beckenham was described by witnesses as a powderkeg waiting to explode, with Belmont Redcliffe losing two players to injury during the game before their players were involved in the ugly ending.

South Perth Stingrays comprehensively won the premiership decider 13.3 (81) to 5.12 (42) but what should have been a time of happy celebrations were somewhat diminished by the incident after the final whistle.

The Jets – a combination team from the Belmont and Redcliffe junior clubs – had lost only once during the regular season but the minor premiers also dropped their qualifying final against fourth-placed South Perth three weeks before the grand final rematch.

A Belmont Redcliffe representative accepted the players’ actions after the final siren were totally unacceptable and disappointing.

He said team officials had considered asking the game be called off after an injury to one of their players, at a time when the result was not in doubt and tensions were escalating.

Shortly after, the game was stopped as another injured player was taken to hospital in an ambulance and wearing a neck brace.

WA Football Commission chief executive Gavin Taylor said the suspended players had shown remorse for their actions and had been offered support as they come to terms with their lengthy bans.

Their suspensions covered a multitude of charges including abusive language towards an umpire, threatening behaviour towards an umpire, intentional contact with an umpire, and striking an umpire. Mr Taylor said it was fortunate the umpire was not seriously injured.

But he said the penalties also sent a clear message that umpire abuse would not be tolerated in any form and that anyone who offended would face the consequences.

“Umpires are critical to our game, are highly valued, and should be respected at all times. It is critical that community football is safe, fun and fair for everyone, including our umpires,” he said.

“This also serves as a timely reminder not only to players, but to coaches and club officials to play a key leadership role in providing positive and safe gameday environments at all times and respecting the important role that umpires play right across Western Australia.”

The players will not be allowed to participate in any WA Football Commission sanctioned match during their suspension.