AAP AFL

AFL warns fan, clarifies crowd standards

By AAP Newswire

The AFL has issued a warning to the Carlton supporter ejected over the use of the term "bald-headed flog", but insists there has been no crackdown on fan behaviour this season.

The Blues fan was removed from Marvel Stadium after allegedly levelling the sledge at umpire Mathew Nicholls during the round 12 clash with Brisbane.

In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the league said the ejected supporter had received a warning over the incident but no further action would be taken.

Fan behaviour at games has been in the spotlight recently after what appears to have been heavy-handed responses to incidents that barely would have rated a mention in the past.

A Richmond supporter was slapped with a three-game ban by the club after he allegedly called an umpire a 'green maggot'.

A Collingwood fan was spoken to by Victoria Police at the MCG on Monday for barracking too loudly, leading the AFL Fans Association to write to the league seeking clarification about what is and isn't acceptable behaviour by supporters.

AFLFA president Gerry Eeman said that the incidents showed that the goalposts appeared to have shifted when it comes to fan behaviour this season.

Not so, according to the AFL.

"For over 100 years, the footy has been a place to come together, barrack, cheer and share in the experience in whichever way you choose," the statement read in part.

"There has been no directive from the AFL to change this.

"The theatre of match day is one of the great sporting experiences, a place to be expressive and passionate about your team and the game, it always has been, it always will be.

"In season 2019 there has been no change to the expectations of the behaviour of everyone at games.

"The AFL's message to everyone is clear - come to the footy, barrack as loud as you can, enjoy the game and do so in a responsible manner."

The league reiterated its zero tolerance policy regarding vilification, with stadium management and police around the country to take action against any person who levels abuse at anyone on the grounds of race, religion, gender, disability or sexuality.

Eeman told AAP there had been a growing sense of frustration amongst fans at what appeared to be a shift in AFL policy without notice.

"We're seeing several incidents where fans are being removed from stadiums for which they wouldn't have been removed last season or the 100 years before that," he said.

"We don't condone abusing umpires or players but we feel that there seems to have been an overreaction to tackling that problem and it's leaving a lot of fans confused as to what is or isn't acceptable.

"There's also a creeping feeling of being watched by Big Brother at the football."

Members of the Tigers cheer squad are reported to have complained about over-the-top scrutiny by stadium security and AFL observers this season.