Video message hoped to deter anti-social footy fans

AFL COACHES will be used to help promote respectful crowd behaviour before each match this football season, the league announced today.

In a video message to be played to the crowd before each game, Geelong's Chris Scott, Sydney's John Longmire, Essendon's Mark Thompson, St Kilda's Alan Richardson, Brisbane's Justin Leppitsch and West Coast's Adam Simpson will give a ``coach's address'', which will remind people that while they can still barrack hard for their team, they have to be respectful of others in the crowd and those on the field.

The message will also display the anti-social behaviour text message number at the ground.

``There's nothing wrong with spirited barracking and good humoured interplay between opposing supporters; these are long-standing elements that create atmosphere and make attending a game such a great experience. But there is zero tolerance for abuse, violence and vilification of any kind,''  football operations manager Mark Evans said at the launch of the campaign in Melbourne yesterday.

``People should be in no doubt that being a face in the crowd no longer provides an anonymous platform to act inappropriately or to vilify players, umpires or other spectators. Everyone who goes to the football deserves a safe and welcoming environment in which to enjoy the excitement of our game.''

Anti-social behaviour at AFL matches is again in the spotlight after a Hawthorn supporter was evicted from Friday's NAB Challenge match in Launceston between the Hawks and North Melbourne for racially abusing the Roos' Sudanese-born ruckman-forward Majak Daw. 

Other crowd members helped alert authorities about the man's behaviour.

The message will be played at Tasmania's two AFL venues over six games this season. 

Hawthorn will host games at Launceston's Aurora Stadium on March 22, June 7, June 28 and August 3, while North Melbourne will host matches at Hobart's Bellerive Oval on July 12 and August 23.

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