WE got it wrong, says the Hampden Football Netball League.
Chief executive officer Mike Farrow yesterday admitted he had erred by allowing South Warrnambool premiership player Trent Harman and reserves runner Ben Wolff to accept one-week suspensions following an incident in last Saturday’s reserves match against Camperdown.
Harman, who is yet to be cleared back to the Roosters after a stint in Cairns, was volunteering as the club’s goal umpire when he and Wolff got involved in a fracas that started at the end of the first quarter, involving players from both teams.
Harman was removed as goal umpire for the remainder of the match while Wolff was yellow-carded and unable to run messages for 15 minutes.
Both were reported by club central umpires for engaging in a melee. The central umpires had offered them one-week suspensions instead of fronting a tribunal.
Their set one-week bans were in stark contrast to other recent cases involving club officials or supporters who were ordered to front tribunal hearings for getting involved in on-field incidents.
North Warrnambool Eagles volunteer club umpire Michael Lynch was suspended in 2010 for more than a year from attending any matches after pleading guilty to unbecoming contact when he bumped a junior player and Woorndoo-Mortlake father Roger Mifsud received an 18-month ban after running onto the field and allegedly striking a player who flung his young son to the ground in a Mininera league reserves match last year.
The Standard yesterday discovered that under Victorian Country Football League rules, Harman and Wolff should have been ordered to face the league’s independent tribunal.
“Set penalties do not apply to club officials,” rule 12, clause 4 states in the VCFL rules section of its 2012 handbook.
Farrow told The Standard he was new in his position and admitted he had made an “administrative error” in accepting the set penalties punishment.
“There was no instruction from Camperdown to say they were concerned about anything, the two umpires were in control of the game and they offered the set penalty, that’s why we accepted the set penalty.”
Farrow said it had been pointed out to him mid-week that he had erred.
He had sought advice from the VCFL but the penalties would stand.
“Brett Connell (VCFL football department operations manager) has confirmed in this instance it was probably the incorrect thing,” Farrow said.
“But the decision has been made and it will stand.”
Connell told The Standard the handling of the incident was up to the HFNL.
“It’s a matter for the league,” he said. “The league have seen fit to do it.
“How they arrived at their decision I’m not aware of it. But you couldn’t revisit it, not the way I see it.”
The incident highlighted a lack of clarity in the rules regarding club umpires.
VCFL south-west area manager Brett Anderson said there was no specific mention of club umpires in the rules.
Under rule 17, all official runners, trainers and water carriers must be listed on the official team sheet and are deemed officials of a club for that match. But there is no specific mention of club-supplied umpires.
Team sheets required to be filled out by clubs before each game include sufficient room for up to eight “club umpires/stewards”.