Former Victorian Premier and Hawthorn club president Jeff Kennett is in hot water over claims security guards can’t police AFL crowds appropriately because they’re “new arrivals” to this country.
A Carlton supporter claims he was kicked out of a game last round for calling an umpire a “bald-headed flog”.
The AFL then announced the individual has been served with a warning, but no further action will be taken.
The league has also issued a statement to announce it has not in any way attempted to clampdown on fan behaviour — despite a series of reports surrounding increased security presence and increased policing of what fans say from their seats during AFL matches in recent weeks.
Kennett said on Monday that security services used in Melbourne at the MCG and Marvel Stadium are further destabilising the situation by not being aware of what constitutes crossing the line of acceptable fan behaviour.
He said security guards don’t know how to properly oversee footy fans because they are “new arrivals”.
“I’m not being racist when I say this, but when I saw some of the footage, the people who are making judgments while they wear these authoritative coats, are not people who appear to have a great knowledge of our game,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
“And yet they make judgments about what’s correct and not correct.”
When challenged about making assumptions about the ancestral origins of stadium staff members, Kennett admitted they may not be “new arrivals” at all.
“We don’t know that and they could be born here,” he said.
“All I’m saying,” Mr Kennett continued, “is the sporting arena is where people relax, where they support their tribe, and what is happening now is unacceptable”.
He said it is impossible to believe that Marvel Stadium — a venue owned and operated by the AFL — would have gone rogue and beefed up its security presence without the support of the AFL.
“All I’m saying is the sporting arena is where people relax, where they support their tribe and what is happening now is unacceptable,” Kennett said.
“I don’t accept that the Marvel Stadium did it on their own. It is an asset owned by the AFL.”
He also said the AFL had left itself open to criticism after taking such public stances on divisive societal issues recently.
“The AFL have done a great number of very good things in developing our code. But they have allowed themselves to become the sort of social benchmark for every social issue in the community,” Kennett said.
“Whether it is same sex marriage, whether it is racism, whether it is crowd behaviour. That’s not their job.
“The AFL have got to understand they have a massive responsibility to the welfare of all those who attend the games because that is the moment of time when the fans can get away from home, get away from work and just watch their tribe perform in a competitive battle.
“That’s when they can let their emotions run free.”