live Infotainment Factory: AFL boss hits out at idea of increased fan violence

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Friday, 17 May 2019

AFL boss hits out at idea of increased fan violence


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Despite an increasing number of violent incidents in AFL crowds this season, league boss Gillon McLachlan has hit back at suggestions that crowd violence is at an all-time high.

A number of matches so far this season have seen brawls, drunken behaviour and offensive language, with four men handed five-match bans for fights during last week's clash between Carlton and Collingwood at the MCG.

While the four men are facing police charges, McLachlan said that the crowds as a whole were better behaved compared to last season.

"We have an eviction rate less than last year," he told 3AW radio.

"It's about 1.9 ejections per 10,000 fans. That's lower than historical rates and lower than last year.

Gillon McLachlan

"So the data says that it is actually better than last year."

However, despite the fact that the statistics supported his view, McLachlan admitted that he was not in denial about the need to address fan behaviour.

"The strong response yesterday is indicative of (increased violence)," he said.

"But I do feel comfortable that we provide generally, 99 percent of the time, a safe family environment. The amount of women and children that go to our games indicate that.

"But what we have to have is that 100 percent of the time, not 99 percent of the time because every man, woman and child needs to feel that they can go to the football and have a safe family experience and watch the footy and enjoy it.

AFL great calls for life bans

"That's our obligation and that's what we'll work very hard with our venues to provide."

McLachlan also explained that the problems in the crowd were caused by a minority, with the majority of the crowd showing good behaviour.

"You hear the odd bad language but I haven't recently heard the environment that people," he said.

"Generally, our crowd and our environment, I'm incredibly proud of."

Despite an increasing number of violent incidents in AFL crowds this season, league boss Gillon McLachlan has hit back at suggestions that crowd violence is at an all-time high.

A number of matches so far this season have seen brawls, drunken behaviour and offensive language, with four men handed five-match bans for fights during last week's clash between Carlton and Collingwood at the MCG.

While the four men are facing police charges, McLachlan said that the crowds as a whole were better behaved compared to last season.

"We have an eviction rate less than last year," he told 3AW radio.

"It's about 1.9 ejections per 10,000 fans. That's lower than historical rates and lower than last year.

Gillon McLachlan

"So the data says that it is actually better than last year."

However, despite the fact that the statistics supported his view, McLachlan admitted that he was not in denial about the need to address fan behaviour.

"The strong response yesterday is indicative of (increased violence)," he said.

"But I do feel comfortable that we provide generally, 99 percent of the time, a safe family environment. The amount of women and children that go to our games indicate that.

"But what we have to have is that 100 percent of the time, not 99 percent of the time because every man, woman and child needs to feel that they can go to the football and have a safe family experience and watch the footy and enjoy it.

AFL great calls for life bans

"That's our obligation and that's what we'll work very hard with our venues to provide."

McLachlan also explained that the problems in the crowd were caused by a minority, with the majority of the crowd showing good behaviour.

"You hear the odd bad language but I haven't recently heard the environment that people," he said.

"Generally, our crowd and our environment, I'm incredibly proud of."

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