AFL boss apologises to fans about match treatment

Police try to separate a fight in the crowd during the round 13 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on June 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Police try to separate a fight in the crowd during the round 13 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on June 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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

McLachlan publicly apologised on Monday night in the wake of mounting angst amid supporters about how they are being treated at matches.

There has been a massive backlash from fans in the wake of increased security measures at venues.

Adding to the AFL’s embarrassment, footage has emerged of a security staffer starting to run onto the field to break up a scuffle between players during Sunday’s game in Hobart.

As he broke up the wrestle between GWS defender Heath Shaw and North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell, the umpire had to tell the man to leave the field.

On Monday night, McLachlan told News Ltd it hurt him that fans were feeling intimidated at AFL matches.

“I’m sorry they are feeling intimidated. If people are feeling threatened we obviously will listen … I’m appalled,” McLachlan said

“It hurts me to hear our administration is not looking after the fans.”

Earlier on Monday, McLachlan had met with Marvel Stadium chief executive Michael Green.

There were several incidents in the crowd on Friday and Saturday nights at the two Marvel Stadium games.

Also on Monday, Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said a crackdown on crowd behaviour by the AFL is unacceptable, despite McLachlan previously stating that there was no change to how the league manages crowds.

Stadium management have conceded they went too far with a heightened level of security which left some fans uneasy, but ground management maintained that the AFL wasn’t behind the move – which Kennett doesn’t believe.

Kennett also came in for criticism after he questioned whether security staff were “new arrivals” to Australia with sufficient knowledge of the game to police crowd behaviour.

“I’m not being racist when I say this, but when I saw some of the footage, the people who are making judgements while they wear these authoritative coats are not people who appear to have a great knowledge of our game,” he said.

“And yet they make judgements about what’s correct and what’s not correct.”