UPDATE, MONDAY 10AM: The Ballarat Football Netball League has just released this statement regarding both the Darley brawl and the Melton South incident where a coach fought with a junior player.
“The Ballarat Football Netball League can confirm that two investigations will be launched into separate incidents that took place at Darley Park and the Melton Recreation Reserve over the weekend.
The BFNL will appoint Investigations Officers to look into all aspects of both incidents.
The BFNL does not condone poor or unsportsmanlike behavior of any kind at our matches and we are committed to ensuring our clubs provide a family friendly environment.
The BFNL will not be making further comment on either matter until the results of both investigation are known.”
EARLIER: Darley Football Club has suspended its president and banned three supporters in the wake of an on-field brawl, which broke out after the final siren of the senior match between the Devils and North Ballarat City at Darley Park on Saturday.
A Darley executive committee emergency meeting indefinitely stood down club president Ray Newton for a “lack of judgment” in dealing with the supporters, who were deemed responsible for initiating and escalating the incident.
None of the banned supporters were club members.
See some of the aftermath here.
Ballarat Football League is investigating the fracas in which supporters were injured.
BFL operations manager Shane Anwyl told The Courier preliminary investigations had begun.
Anwyl was briefed on the incident shortly after it took place. He said the BFL had obtained professional vision of the incident and was using this in the early phase of the investigation.
Anwyl said there would be discussions with Darley and North Ballarat City clubs, and Ballarat Football Umpires Association as part of the process to determine the exact circumstances of the incident.
Darley Football Club secretary Lorissa Edwards confirmed in a statement on the club’s Facebook page on Saturday night the incident had not involved North Ballarat City players or supporters.
See Darley’s full statement here.
A further club statement to media on Sunday declared the club was “disturbed” by the incident as “a proud community based club which takes pride in providing a welcoming and all-inclusive environment. This environment is one which maintains the highest standards of behaviour on and off field”.
The statement also read the club had found no senior players or coaching staff were involved, “other than to try and break up the gathering” and players had moved off the field, when instructed.
The brawl erupted after a spectator approached the two field umpires and directed verbal abuse at them from close range as they were about to leave the field at the end of the game, which Darley won by five points.
No umpires were injured.
Anwyl said the BFL had the power to discipline supporters and club members if any codes of conduct were breached.
Anwyl said there was zero tolerance to any detrimental issues with respect to the protection of umpires.
North City president Leon Jones told The Courier that he could say with 100 percent confidence that no player, official or supporter of his club was involved in the incident.
“I would also like to thank the Darley supporter who apologised after it had been confirmed none of our people were involved.”
Darley president Ray Newton required medical treatment in the clubrooms after he suffered facial injuries while attempting to defuse the incident. The Devils confirmed Newtown offered the committee and club an unreserved apology for his involvement.
The Devils’s also issued an apology to all members, partners and wider BFL community, acknowledging “this incident has may have caused embarrassment for the Darley FNC, our members and the Ballarat FNL”.
Darley vice-president Mark Shelly will act as president until the club’s annual general meeting.