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Football official cops lifetime ban for attack on junior in under-13 match, SA league says

A suburban football club official found to have attacked a junior player during an under-13 match in Adelaide last weekend has been banned for life from official involvement in the sport, the state league has said.

Key points:

The incident occurred during a match between North Haven and Fitzroy football clubs in Adelaide’s north-west
The SANFL found a North Haven official made “totally unacceptable” contact with a junior player after running onto the field
The official has been banned and the club fined

The incident occurred during a match between North Haven and Fitzroy football clubs at Renown Park in Adelaide’s north-west on Sunday, and resulted in the game being abandoned.

The SANFL launched an investigation, which has resulted in the league imposing a lifetime ban on North Haven’s team manager from “holding any official role in football”.

SA Police has confirmed it is also investigating the matter.

The league said it found the North Haven official had run onto the field and engaged in “physical abuse” towards a junior player.

“It was a really forceful bump so there was contact through his body and there was some high contact as well,” executive general manager Matt Duldig said.

“[It was] a hip and shoulder to the young player, which is obviously just totally unacceptable.

“We’ve found the North Haven team manager guilty, against the code of conduct, for engaging in physical contact or abuse towards a player.”

Mr Duldig said that the incident occurred during a stop in play caused by an on-field injury, and that the official had run onto the field and made “forceful contact with a 13-year-old boy”.

“It’s hard to comprehend to be honest that a grown man would even consider this action — firstly, even consider to run on the field,” he said.

“This is something that we’ve never seen before … [and] we needed to hand out a significant penalty.”

In addition to the lifetime ban, the official has been suspended from attending SANFL juniors matches, in any capacity, for 12 months, and the club had been fined $500.

While North Haven Football Club “co-operated fully” with the investigation, all officials will be “required to undertake a positive role modelling education session”, the league said.

It said the coach of the opposing side, Fitzroy, had also received a reprimand for “aggravated behaviour”, but acknowledged that that was in response to the attack on its player.

In a statement, SA Police confirmed the matter “is still under investigation”.

Mr Duldig said the young player was “shaken up” but did not sustain any lasting injuries.

North Haven Football Club has been contacted for comment.



Author: Russell White