AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has moved to stamp out suggestions that the league has initiated a crackdown on fan behaviour.
Speaking to 3AW on Friday morning, McLachlan defended the decision to eject a supporter who abused umpire Matthew Nicholls during Carlton and Brisbane’s Round 12 clash at Marvel Stadium, but said that the supporter experience was central to the game.
“The supporters are vital and we want them to express themselves, it’s about respect,” the league CEO said.
“I don’t think people should be thrown out of the football for barracking too loudly.”
McLachlan said laws governing fan behaviour had not changed.
“I want to make this clear … there has been no – zero – commentary, crackdown or change in policy about what’s acceptable fan behaviour at games,” he said.
“It’s the same as it’s been for 100 plus years.
“Come, let it be your outlet, be tribal about your team, but do it in a way that respects the people around you.
“It’s the same policy and it’s self-policing.
“The fans ultimately decide what that looks like – not me, or you – it’s the people around you.
“If police are called it’s because the supporters around them are calling.”
McLachlan addressed Collingwood supporter Joffa Corfe – who claimed he would not attend the football until the CEO apologised to all supporters – saying that he would speak with Joffa privately, but stopped short of issuing an apology.