Football racism response praised

Majak Daw in action on Friday.
Majak Daw in action on Friday.

THE eviction of a spectator from Launceston's Aurora Stadium on Friday night for racially abusing North Melbourne's Sudanese-born ruckman-forward Majak Daw is a credit to the ground's anti-social policies, says Inveresk Precinct manager Robert Groenewegen.

But there are fears the man may not be able to be identified, despite the fact he had a seat at the NAB Challenge game between Hawthorn and North Melbourne.

"We may not be able to find him," Mr Groenewegen admitted yesterday.

"We know where he was sitting, but we don't know whether that was his personal seat, or someone bought it for him, or whether he purchased it at the gate, which means there will be no details of him."

Mr Groenewegen said efforts to identify the man, who was sitting in the RACT Stand with a young child and wearing a Hawthorn T-shirt, would begin tomorrow with the help of ticketing agency Ticketmaster.

Any punishment, such as a potential ban from the stadium, would be handed down after consultation with the AFL.

Hawthorn has said that if the man is a member of the club, he will have his membership cancelled, just as Collingwood did to one of its members who racially abused Gold Coast midfielder Joel Wilkinson in 2012.

An SMS service to report anti- social behaviour was put in place at Aurora Stadium in 2011 after former Hawthorn forward Lance Franklin fell victim to racial slurs, and that was used on Friday night.

Before the taunt was delivered, authorities were alerted to a group of about seven spectators who were "swearing a lot" and making other crowd members feel uncomfortable in the area where the man was sitting.

The man was spoken to by security before being escorted from the ground, with the child in tow, but his name was not taken at that time.

A North Melbourne supporter was later taken away by security and police from the same area for anti-social behaviour.

Mr Groenewegen said he was proud of the members of the public who decided to identify the group, and those around the man who made it clear that his comments were not appropriate.

"I'm really pleased with how our staff, security and the police, who came to assist at the end, [handled the situation]," he said.


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