WDFNL proposes first and final warning rule for juniors in 2015

JUNIOR footballers will be suspended for multiple onfield indiscretions under a proposed new rule in the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League next year.

Players who receive more than one yellow card a season would face bans if it’s enforced. 

The league has drafted a rule and expects it to be adopted in some form in 2015.

Clubs have until September 17 to provide feedback.

League president Ken McSween said the decision to introduce the penalties was made in a bid to alleviate the high number of yellow cards handed out in the under 17½ competition.

“The gist of it is if you get sent off once in the season that is your first and final warning,” he said.

“If you’re sent off a second time it’s an automatic one-week suspension and if you’re sent off three times it’s a two-week suspension.

“If you’re sent off a fourth time then it goes to the tribunal.

“Having said that, there is a grievance process in case a club thinks a send-off was unjust.”

McSween is hopeful the new rule will have an immediate effect next season. 

“It sounds harsh but preferably you don’t want any (yellow cards) at all,” he said.

“We feel this system puts control back into the coach’s hands. “He can say ‘if you don’t pull your head in, we lose you’. 

“We have had quite a few send offs this year, mainly in the under 17½s. The under 17½s  is the only competition split between club umpires and association umpires and I think that’s where the problem lies.

“Maybe club umpires are a little more lenient.

“Association umpires have a no-tolerance policy for a lot of things.”

McSween said clubs and players would have the right to discuss any yellow card penalties with the league.

“The only thing the clubs brought up was the potential to have the system rorted,” he said.

“(Say) you get to the end of the season and they (a club umpire) might send off a player in the hope they’re out of the first final.

“What we have told them is if they really think it’s going to be a problem, let us know and we’ll offer independent umpires for the game.

“But I don’t see it as a problem — no umpires, no matter how one-eyed, are going to go down that track.”

The yellow card rule is likely to be introduced at junior level next season but McSween hasn’t ruled it out from being adopted in senior competition in coming years.

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