SANFL Statement

Last Updated:

The SANFL has today handed down one-match sanctions to two junior players from Ingle Farm and Edwardstown football clubs for striking in an U17.5 Girls Division 2 match on Sunday, May 23.

A detailed investigation into club officials and spectator involvement following the on-field incident, which resulted in the match being called off by the field umpire midway through the fourth quarter, is continuing to determine appropriate sanctions.

Ingle Farm Football Club has informed SANFL Juniors that it will be withdrawing from the U17.5 Girls Division 2 competition for the remainder of the season.

The investigation into the incident involving an alleged assault on a spectator and junior boundary umpire on Sunday also is ongoing, with the League’s Integrity and Compliance Manager assisting SAPOL with its enquiries.

The incident from the weekend comes on the back of an increasing number of concerning reports of inappropriate behaviour this season.

This includes an incident on Sunday, May 16 which resulted in SANFL sanctioning a spectator over his involvement in an on-field melee at half-time of an U16s Boys Division 3 match between Gaza and Woodville South football clubs. The offending male has been banned from attending any junior football match for 18 months and ordered to attend an anti-violence education session.

In accordance with SANFL Juniors policy, that match was also called off by the field umpire following consultation with both teams’ officials. Subsequently, both teams were suspended from playing last weekend.

SANFL CEO Darren Chandler today said:

“We are appalled and disappointed by what has occurred over the past two weeks at SANFL Juniors matches.

While these incidents are severe, unfortunately they follow a growing pattern of unacceptable behaviour this season.

As a League, we simply cannot continue to tolerate these kinds of incidents.

We set very clear behavioural expectations for participants, coaches and spectators in community football and have zero tolerance for anyone who is in breach of our code of conduct at junior matches.

Unfortunately, the frequency with which we are receiving reports of unacceptable behaviour calls for stronger action. We also need to find ways to help our clubs to assist in enforcing these behavioural guidelines.

This responsibility ultimately relies on all club officials and, in particular, coaches to set the example for their players and spectators.

This latest penalty should act as a warning to all spectators attending junior matches that this type of inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated.

We have over 13,000 players in National Pharmacies SANFL Juniors with the majority of players, volunteers and spectators doing the right thing. Unfortunately a minority are tarnishing what’s a great competition and experience for our kids.”