WDFNL club president in Facebook outburst

FOOTBALL officials are considering asking for an investigation into whether a club president has breached AFL Victoria Country’s cyber safety policy.

The club president yesterday came under fire for inflammatory comments directed at members of a rival club on his personal Facebook page.

The Standard has chosen not to name the president or his club, or publish the comments, due the fact the league is yet to launch an investigation.

But Warrnambool and District Football Netball League president Ken McSween said officials took a “dim view” of what was written.

“It’s inappropriate language to use coming from a senior official. It’s not the way you’d like to see your leaders in the football community act,” he said.

Mr McSween said the league would determine whether it would ask an investigations officer to look into the matter in coming days — potentially as early as today.

Should that happen, the investigations officer would have 21 days to complete a report and recommend whether the club president fronts a tribunal.

The AFL Victoria Country cyber safety policy states club members “have a responsibility to ensure that all online communications are in keeping with the league’s expectations in relation to appropriate and respectful interactions with officials, coaches, umpires, players, parents, spectators and sponsors”. A proven charge leads to an automatic minimum two-match suspension. The club could also receive a fine.

The club president yesterday said his comments “were not a direct threat to any individual” and were made not on behalf of his club.

Asked whether he regretted what he wrote, he said: “I regret I put it on social media. The only thing I’ve learnt out of all of this is if you want to speak your mind and get away with it, become a journalist,” he said.

The comments sparked the rival club to reply on its own Facebook page, although they were deleted before league officials could secure a copy. Mr McSween said the lack of evidence meant the league was unlikely to ask for a second investigation. 

“While we heard the reply from (the second club) wasn’t good, the simple fact was they wouldn’t be put there without the first one,” he said.

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