BALLARAT Football League presidents say they hope the racial discrimination investigation that came to a close during the week will help change the culture of football matches into the future.
The mediation process between Aboriginal elder Ted Lovett and Darley Football Club ended during the week, after Lovett was racially abused by a racist Darley supporter on May 31.
The Courier understands the supporter has been suspended from attending BFL matches for at least the rest of the season.
“It’s not just about Darley or the BFL, it’s about the general football culture that needs to change.”Peter Carey
Although the league will not publicly announce any sanctions handed down, a by-law of the BFL’s racial tolerance policy states that any spectator found guilty of religious vilification “will incur a minimum of a 12-week suspension from attending BFL fixtures and his/her club should be fined an amount of no less than $250”.
Both North City president Peter Carey and Darley chief Grant Wright said on Thursday they were comfortable with the sanctions that had been handed down, although they were unable discuss the details of the mediation.
“The club is satisfied with the outcome of the mediation process,” Carey said.
“Hopefully, this will be the impetus for some cultural change for football that will make people understand the subject a lot more.
“It’s not just about Darley or the BFL, it’s about the general football culture that needs to change.”
The incident occurred in the round six match at Darley Park, where Lovett was racially abused while supporting North City.
At the time, the respected Aboriginal elder said the incident showed racism was very much still alive in Australia.
Darley president Grant Wright said it was a “regrettable situation”, but the mediation was an important step.
“It was necessary and it had to take place, no doubt,” Wright said.
“It shows we all have to improve in these areas. As a club, we won’t stand for it and it’s an area that needs improvement, although it is very much the minority.”
In a statement on the BFL website, the league said any penalties would remain confidential.
“The league is confident that the person directly involved in the incident has learnt a valuable lesson and is unlikely to reoffend,” the statement read.
“The remorse shown and commitment to fulfil all aspects of the penalty imposed suggests that the club and individual involved understands the impact of such actions and reinforce that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated at BFL games.”