Dartmoor Football Netball Club has been fined $1000 after its team manager pleaded guilty to umpire abuse.
An AFL Western District independent tribunal handed down the penalty following a 90-minute hearing on Wednesday night in Warrnambool. The case invoilved the accused questioning an umpire's decision regarding a player report.
The umpire, who has officiated the sport for 11 years and was awarded life membership last year, revealed he had quit umpiring following the incident. He said: "I can see why people don't want to umpire".
When delivering the verdict, the panel spoke of the umpire shortage across the country and reflected on what the team manager's role was. It was decided this incident went outside the boundaries of that definition.
They said it was a "classic case of emotions" and that controversy between the views of both parties was taken into account.
Both the accused and umpire, as well as a second umpire who witnessed the interaction, were present via video and telephone communication.
The report stemmed from an incident occurring on April 2 following Dartmoor's round one senior match against Cavendish.
During the game, the umpire issued a Dartmoor player a red card for striking an opponent. Following the match, the team manager went to the umpires room to collect paperwork and when present, questioned the reporting umpire about his decision.
He asked how many weeks they would give the player, and if it would go to the tribunal.
The accused said he believed the on-field incident was in retaliation to a Cavendish player's action and stated he believed the two-week set penalty was more appropriate than going to the tribunal. Both parties became agitated during the exchange, which was said to have lasted under a minute.
The second umpire present during the exchange said he believed the team manager's words were inappropriate. He confirmed he did not receive any abuse.
Key points to questioning was if the accused gave the umpires adequate time post-match before coming to the umpires room, who became agitated first, and if there was any swear words exchanged.
The prosecutor, working as the umpires advocates, said it was not within the accused's role as a team manager to question an umpire's report.
The accused said he was remorseful and had learnt from the incident. He said he should not have questioned the report.
He received a character reference from the club's president, which asked the panel to take into account a clean playing record and two decades of service to the club as a volunteer.
Earlier in the evening, a Mininera league under 16 player was found guilty of umpire abuse. The player received a four-match penalty.
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