'Unsportsmanlike conduct' forces referees to abandon basketball grand final match

TWO teams from the same club were involved in an all-in melee during a Ballarat Basketball Association grand final on Monday night.

Neither Saints or Saints Blue were awarded trophies after the match was abandoned with five minutes remaining.

Officials have confirmed they will file a report for the tribunal to be held within the week.

Ballarat Basketball Association chief executive officer Peter Eddy said there were no injuries to players or referees and no punches were thrown.

He said he expected bans and fines to be issued to players.

“Referees abandoned the game as a result of unsportsmanlike conduct,” Eddy said.

“They felt if the teams are going to behave in that way, we felt to not award the pennants.”

Eddy said melees during games were not a growing problem.

“Four hundred matches are played a week, and there would be one significant tribunal a month,” he said. 

“I don’t think any sports are immune from people who have less respect for society and sport than 10-15 years ago.”

A player involved in the scuffle spoke with The Courier and said there was “push and shove”.

“Both sides got in a bit of a wrestle. Probably more so due to the umpires letting the game get out of control,” he said.

“Tensions just built up during the game, led to it getting rougher and rougher and a few tempers.

“One referee fell over.”

Saints president Paul Aikman said the club backed the referees’ decision to abandon the match, adding that it would join the BBA in working through the incident.

Aikman said the club could also hand down its own sanctions if it deemed the incident serious enough.

“It’s disappointing that the two member teams of the club have been involved in the incident, however basketball is a little bit different to other sports where teams that represent your club don’t necessarily train with each other, associate with each other or even know each other,” Aikman said.

“It’s not an excuse for the behaviour, but it might explain to the public a little better why this incident might have occurred between two member teams of our club.”

tim.oconnor@fairfaxmedia.com.au

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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