VAFA RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS POLICY

The policy

No player, official or supporter of a member club of the Association shall speak to, or at, or about, any person of any member club of the Association in a manner which abuses, threatens, disparages, vilifies or insults the other person on the basis of that person’s race, gender, religion, physical characteristics, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or any other personal characteristics.

Enforcement of the policy

Umpires are instructed to refer to the Chief Executive Officer of the Association by written report within seventy- two hours of the conclusion of any match any alleged breaches of the policy. The Chief Executive Officer shall then consult with the Chairman of the Tribunal and Investigation Committee and undertake any preliminary investigations as directed by such chairman, which may include an attempt at mediation, that if successful, may see a formal hearing not necessary.

The Association may lay a charge or charges based upon the umpire’s written report alleging a breach or breaches of this policy as constituting conduct unbecoming or conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Association and such charge or charges shall be heard before an Investigation Committee.

Clubs are encouraged to report alleged breaches of the policy to the Association under Rule 124 for Investigation by the Investigation Committee. The requires the details are to be provided in writing to the Chief Executive Officer of the Association by 3 pm on the Wednesday following the alleged incident accompanied by a fee of $200 which may be forfeited in whole or in part if the Investigation Committee which hears the matter considers the complaint or charge to be frivolous.

The Chief Executive Officer shall then consult with the Chairman of the Tribunal and Investigation Committee and undertake any preliminary investigations as directed by such chairman and which may include mediation (see above).

The Association may lay a charge or charges based upon the umpire’s written report alleging a breach or breaches of this policy as constituting conduct unbecoming or conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Association, and such charge or charges shall be heard before an Investigation Committee.

Application of the policy

The policy was adopted at the meeting of the Executive on May 17th, 1996 and takes affect for all games administered by the Association.

Background

Football followers will be well aware of the much publicised Damien Monkhorst / Michael Long incident, where it was alleged that certain racially based comments were made towards Essendon footballer Michael Long. The incident highlighted one of the major changes in our society over the last decade or so whereby it has been confirmed that it is not only not acceptable to make such comments, but that those to whom such comments are directed have had enough and have been prepared to stand up and say so.

Amateur Football is not immune from the issue and we have already seen a number of charges involving racial abuse heard by the Investigation Committee in the past few years.

The Executive decided to adopt a policy applicable to all Amateur games. All Amateur football followers were and are urged  to embrace and adopt the policy to stamp out the practice of unreasonable abuse as defined in the policy statement.

 The Association is aware that there still exists a very small minority of players, officials and supporters of clubs who engage in abusing the opposition on the basis of race religion, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.

The Association has been and remains committed to eradicating such abuse from all Amateur football. Where alleged breaches have been brought to the Association’s attention in the past they have been dealt with either at the Tribunal as reportable offences or before the Investigation Committee as conduct unbecoming.

The Association recognises that clubs - including their players, officials and supporters, umpires and Investigation Committee need to be aware of what constitutes unacceptable conduct in relation to racial and religious abuse and therefore has deemed it necessary to prepare a documented and published policy on the issue.    

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