Umpire Abuse Creates Club Sanction

The South Bunbury Football Club (SBFC) has been sanctioned after an unidentified spectator verbally abused a female boundary umpire in the concluding stages of Saturday evening’s match against Donnybrook at Hands Oval.

The currently unidentified spectator, who sat immediately outside the SBFC clubrooms, used sexist and misogynistic comments toward the Umpire.

These comments contributed to the umpire leaving the game before its conclusion.

The two field umpires and a goal umpire reported the incident immediately after the match to the South West Football League (SWFL).

Representatives of the SBFC, were advised of the situation, met with the Umpires post-match, and apologised for the behaviour of the spectator.

The SBFC is continuing its efforts to identify the individual responsible for the unacceptable remarks.

It must be re-iterated this person, may or may not be associated with the South Bunbury Football Club, however under section 10.1 of the WACFL Bylaws – Unbecoming Behaviour, if the League is satisfied that they have sufficient credible evidence regarding a Club’s players, officials, members, spectators, or a league official committing unbecoming behaviour, they are able to issue fines and sanctions on clubs or individuals in line with the WACFLs Fines and Penalties Guidelines.

SWFL President, Barry Tate, said clubs need to ensure their football communities are safe for all.

“This is obviously a wake-up call to all clubs that spectator behaviour within the realms of the club’s confines are the clubs responsibility,” Tate said.

SWFL General Manager, Jason Crowe, said it was disappointing to see umpires face abuse.

“Umpiring numbers are critically low and as a result of the weekend, we have potentially lost another one,” Crowe said.

This abuse comes just a week after the West Australian Football Commission released a new campaign to Stop Umpire Abuse.

Based on the evidence presented and accepted without contest by South Bunbury, the SWFL Executive found the following:

  1. The abuse did occur.
  2. The language was at the extreme end of the scale.
  3. The abuse was audible to players, umpires and dozens of spectators including women and children.
  4. The abuse came from a small identified area immediately outside the South Bunbury bar, this are is usually occupied by long term South Bunbury members and supporters on game day.
  5. The Executive require to South Bunbury Football Club to make every endeavour to establish the identity of the culprit and report this to the SWFL General Manager as soon as possible or by Wednesday 17 August 2022 (4pm)
  6. South Bunbury Football Club have not presented a person by this date have been fined $1000.
  7. South Bunbury Football Club will be required in any event to provide two security guards to patrol the area for the round 21 match against Bunbury.