During an under 19 game last year a spectator associated with North Shore intervened in a scuffle between players, pushing them apart.
Regardless of the intention, it needs to be understood that contact with umpires, players and opposition officials and spectators is absolutely prohibited by the AFL and by the club.
There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which is to prevent potentially volatile situations from escalating into serious incidents, which has happened at other clubs.
It is worth noting that the incident referred to above occurred as the person concerned was walking out to the North Shore huddle during a break in play. This is obviously something that many of us do, so we all need to be aware of our responsibility to act appropriately at all times.
The purpose of the Codes of Conduct that govern our collective behaviour at AFL games is to ensure a safe and respectful environment for everyone involved. Breaching these Codes of Conduct is viewed very seriously and can involve heavy sanctions for individuals and clubs.
In this particular case, the person involved and North Shore have apologised to the opposition player, his club and to the AFL. We were also required to attend an AFL tribunal hearing at which a 5 year ban was imposed on the person entering the field of play (ie at breaks and before/after games).
The club has worked through this situation with the individual involved and they are now well aware of why the incident was viewed so seriously. The club is posting this notice in part as part of its sanction by the AFL, but also to raise awareness of the need for everyone associated with the club to understand what their responsibilities are and to convey that there are potentially serious consequences for not meeting them.
The AFL NSW/ACT Code of Conduct and other relevant AFL policies can be viewed via the following link and we urge all of you to read them.