NTFA gets tough over violence

NTFA president Geoff Lyons announces the penalties and findings of the  inquiry into the match brawl between Old Scotch and Fingal at yesterday's press conference.  Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

NTFA president Geoff Lyons announces the penalties and findings of the inquiry into the match brawl between Old Scotch and Fingal at yesterday's press conference. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

ON a day when the NTFA confirmed unprecedented punishments on Old Scotch and Fingal Valley football clubs, president Geoff Lyons apologised to the football community, sponsors and supporters for the brawl in their division 2 match a fortnight ago.

Lyons said the NTFA treated the incident that forced the abandonment of the May 10 game in a very serious manner and would not condone or tolerate such behaviour.

As revealed exclusively in The Examiner yesterday, Old Scotch will be fined $4000 and stripped of 16 premiership points while Fingal Valley will be hit with a $6000 fine and forfeit 24 points.

Previously suspended fines for both clubs from last season's melee will also be imposed.

The investigation also ruled:

The match would be declared void and no premiership points or best and fairest votes awarded.

Three umpires plus a reserve umpire will be allocated to all future matches between the two clubs until a review at the end of the 2015 season and the cost split equally between the two.

All matches between the clubs will be videoed from at least two angles and the additional cost equally split between the clubs with a review at the end of the 2015 season.

Two players will front the NTFA tribunal next Monday night on charges relating to the brawl, one for coming back on to the field after being sent off.

Lyons declined to name the players or identify their clubs.

He said both clubs were embarrassed by the incident and their presidents had apologised on behalf of their clubs.

Their reaction to the penalties had been mixed he said and the stiffer penalty imposed on Fingal had been the result of the independent investigator's recommendation.

``One of the clubs obviously thought the apportioned penalty wasn't appropriate.

``But following all the evidence - and let me tell you the investigator interviewed about 40 or 50 people and received written submissions from many people - there was a very thorough investigation of this matter and he determined the penalties should be apportioned in that way. 

``We researched around Australia to see what penalties were involved in other competitions _ we believe these penalties are hard but fair.'' 

As a member of the NTFA and the Tasmanian Football Council, Lyons said the punishments imposed could well become a precedent for the rest of Tasmania.

``It is the toughest penalty that we know of in Tasmania and it was intended to be tough because we can't afford to have another incident between these two clubs.

``We expect the clubs to be of good behaviour into the future and we expect them to be able to pay these fines. 

``But it does put a financial burden on them to cover the costs of umpires and videoing of matches.''

The clubs do have a right of appeal to the TFC, but he considered it unlikely.

Lyons denied that there would be any community perception of a culture of violence in NTFA football arising from the incident.

``I started playing in 1963 with Exeter seconds as a primary school kid and I've seen football go through a whole range of eras,'' he said.

``There's been tougher times and more violent times, but it is unacceptable in 2014 and we will eliminate it from the NTFA.''

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