AFLNT asked to consider bans for spectators and players who abuse umpires
Northern Territory umpires have banded together to take a “zero-tolerance” approach to umpire abuse.
- Northern Territory umpires have met to decide how to deal with what they describe as an increase in on-field umpire abuse
- President of the NT Football League Umpires Association said umpires had been spat on and called derogatory names
- The association called on AFLNT to force match managers to do more to prevent abuse
After a meeting on Monday night, the NT Football League’s Umpires Association said they would be asking the AFLNT to ensure match managers, who have the power to eject spectators from games, take better responsibility for policing spectator behaviour.
At the meeting, the umpires discussed allegations of increasing incidents of abuse from players, spectators and even high-level coaches, and called for an automatic two-week ban for umpire abuse to be re-introduced as a deterrent for bad behaviour.
Association president Ashley Manicaros claimed there were multiple occasions where individual umpires were becoming targets.
“Over the weekend in a division one game, a club and a group of spectators near the coaching box were actually chanting an umpire’s name, followed by a derogatory sentiment, and this went on for some time,” Mr Manicaros told ABC Local Radio.
“It was heard by a senior official, no match managers intervened, no-one said anything, it was noted down.
“And as far as I know nothing’s been done. That’s unacceptable.”
AFLNT deny increase in abuse
The AFLNT said reports of abuse had halved since this time last season, from 16 to eight.
They said they would consider the two-week ban but not until the post-season review.
AFLNT boss Stuart Totham said there was already an established complaints process available.
“AFLNT and our clubs do not condone umpire abuse — we want our competitions to be a zero-tolerance zone,” he said in a statement.
“This is not a quick fix though, and it requires work with all parties to engage in a collaborative manner.”
‘They haven’t followed through properly’
Before Monday night’s meeting, Mr Manicaros said the umpire fraternity had “zero confidence the league or the board has their back on this issue”.
“There’s been a couple of incidents this season that have been terrible,” he said.
“We’ve had an umpire spat on this year.
“We’ve had several incidents of umpire abuse where they haven’t followed through properly far as we’re concerned with proper suspensions.”
He also said umpires had been sworn at during the season.
Mr Manicaros ruled out a boycott of games with repeat offender teams, which he had previously hinted at, and said instead the association would continue to pressure AFLNT to ensure standards were maintained.
The umpires will be asking the AFLNT to force match managers prevent abusive spectator behaviour for the remainder of the season,” he said.