PUBLICLY accusing junior footballers of issuing an alleged death threat against him has earned Warren Keane a three-year ban from having an official role in football.
Allansford Football Netball Club has also copped a $2000 fine for the outburst from its under 17½ coach after the Warrnambool and District league grand final.
A three-member tribunal panel, chaired by Terry O’Keefe, last night handed down the penalties following a two-hour hearing at the A. L. Lane Community Centre.
Keane, who pleaded guilty to unbecoming conduct, was remorseful for the outburst, which he said was caused by a combination of mitigating circumstances.
The tribunal started with footage being shown of Keane making his post-match speech after Old Collegians’ 33-point defeat of Allansford at Reid Oval on September 7.
The footage shows Keane, who coached the Cats’ under 17½ side, mentioning that he received a death threat in the mail earlier in the week.
Keane then says he would take action if he found out the threat came from the Warriors footballers, gesturing at them to reinforce his point.
WDFNL executive member Andrew Thomson, the first witness to give evidence, said the outburst “was said in a very threatening manner, it was not a comment”.
Thomson said there were hundreds of people watching the presentation ceremony.
“I’ve been to a lot of games, I’ve covered the league for nearly 30 years,” he said. “And I’ve never seen anything like it, it was remarkable.”
Fellow WDFNL executive members Ken McSween and Carey Hackett also gave evidence.
McSween said Keane seemed reluctant to come to the stage when prompted by Thomson, who was MC.
Both McSween and Hackett said Keane had made post-match speeches after losing grand finals the past two years, without issue.
“I just felt he was more disappointed this year than he has seemed in other years,” Hackett said.
Keane said he received the death threat on the Monday before grand final week.
He said grand final week coincided with working back-to-back 70-hour weeks as a baker for Chitticks, which had just taken over the Timboon bakery.
Unnerving happenings — such as strange cars driving around his area late at night — were also going on at the time.
Keane said he talked to two Allansford committee members about the death threat, although neither could offer any advice.
He opted against lodging a complaint with the WDFNL or police because of the impact an investigation could have on the preparations of the two sides.
“In hindsight, perhaps maybe I should have,” he said.
Keane, who was sacked on grand final day, said he held no ill-feeling towards Allansford, and understood the difficult position the club was in.
He genuinely felt the committee members he spoke to had no idea how to handle the incident.
But he was somewhat disappointed with the support from the club.
“I suppose Allansford had to be seen to do the right thing,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice if they had stood by me a bit more, backed their man, until the procedures were over.”