Racial abuser in public seating

THE AFL has confirmed that the man who was evicted from Aurora Stadium on Friday night for racially abusing North Melbourne's Sudanese-born forward- ruckman Majak Daw did not buy the ticket using a Hawthorn membership.

AFL spokesman Patrick Keane yesterday told The Examiner that the tickets in the area where the incident occurred were bought as part of a group public sale, not to an individual club member.

"At this point, we are still working through the process if we can identify the particular individual," Mr Keane said, although he could not confirm how long that would take.

Any punishment, such as a ban from the stadium, will be made in consultation with the AFL.

The man, who was wearing a Hawthorn T-shirt and had a child with him, was asked to leave his seat by security in the RACT Stand following the incident, which happened in the third quarter of the NAB Challenge match between Hawthorn and North Melbourne.

However, his name was not taken at that time.

Meanwhile, AFL Players' Association chief executive Matt Finnis has spoken out about the incident, saying "racism has no place in our society, and definitely no place in our game".

"Buying a ticket to the footy does not grant anyone permission to abuse another person," Mr Finnis said in an article posted on the AFL Players' website.

"Whether it be comments about race, sexuality, religion or anything deemed offensive by the target, it has no place in our game.

"There's a big difference between barracking hard for your team and hurling racist abuse from over the fence. This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

Mr Finnis said he was "heartened" that fans sitting around the area of the incident alerted authorities, and that his association was providing Daw with the required support.

Friday's ejection followed previous incidents at Aurora Stadium in which AFL stars Lance Franklin and Andrew McLeod said they were racially taunted.

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