Zero tolerance to violence at this year’s Mininera footy finals

POLICE are investigating an incident which occurred at the Mininera and District Football League second semi final played at Lake Bolac last Saturday which disrupted the spectators' enjoyment of the day and placed the safety of all at risk.

Ararat Officer in Charge Senior Sergeant Damian Ferrari said country football is a family day and atmosphere, particularly finals where crowds are traditionally much larger than throughout the year.

The incident began as an alleged assault between two spectators after the match, but others then became involved and according to Snr Sgt Ferrari it could have become 'nasty' very quickly.

"The incident at the final played at Lake Bolac last Saturday meant that this family type atmosphere was severely disrupted and the behaviour placed spectators, officials, players and professional personnel at risk and compromised people's safety," Snr Sgt Ferrari said.

"Further to this, the behaviour is far from what is expected at such events and very distant from the League's Code of Conduct.

"A police investigation is underway and persons found to be involved in the incident may see themselves banned from the remainder of the finals' series or until the investigation is completed. If alcohol was a factor then individuals may also see themselves placed on the Liquor Accord Ban."

Snr Sgt Ferrari said police and the Mininera Football and Netball League executive have been working closely together this week to put some measures in place to ensure that there are no further incidents of this nature at the football.

"I am pleased with the quick response by the league to address this behaviour and ensure that the integrity of the game is maintained and that a safe and pleasant environment is created for all to enjoy," he said.

For the remainder of the finals' series the following procedures have been put in place:

Additional security staff have been engaged and will continue to search vehicles and bags upon entry. Failure to allow inspection will result in refused entry.

Security staff will remain until after the senior games have concluded and will patrol the venue during the day.

Liquor booths are restricted to serving a maximum of two cans of alcohol to any person at one time. Heavy strength alcohol will not be served until the commencement of the senior football game.

Police will have a zero tolerance approach to anti social behaviour and charges, fines and evictions will be utilised if necessary.

"I ask people to be responsible and moderate their alcohol intake and their behaviour," Snr Sgt Ferrari said.

"It isn't acceptable that a few individuals spoil the day for the majority.

"I would like to think that commonsense will prevail and the remainder of the finals' series will be enjoyed by all without these types of incidents."

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