NATIMUK United will lodge a complaint with the Horsham District Football Netball League following alleged racist comments from an opponent during Saturday’s match at Laharum.
Rams coach Tim Friend said two of his players had been left visibly upset after the comments were allegedly made during the second quarter of the team’s 177-point loss to the Mountain Men.
He said the club had collected statements from the players involved and would submit a complaint with the league.
Friend said umpires were made aware of the alleged comments during the match but were unable to take action because they did not hear them.
He said racism in country football was unacceptable and should be stamped out.
“That’s just not on, and as a playing group we won’t stand for that and we don’t respect players who do that,” he said.
“It will be in the hands of the league with their investigation after this, but they really need to set a precedent and make a statement that we’re not going to tolerate this.”
Natimuk United chairman Andrew Carine said none of the allegations had been proven and the club would wait while the league investigated the matter.
He said Natimuk United would work with the league and Laharum to make sure the matter was resolved.
“That’s just not on, and as a playing group we won’t stand for that and we don’t respect players who do that.”Natimuk United coach Tim Friend
Laharum vice-chairman Cameron Mibus said he had been in contact with Mr Carine and was also prepared to resolve the issue with Natimuk United and the league.
Laharum coach Shannon Argall said racism had no place on or off the football field.
“I’m not aware of what has been said, but I stand strong in saying there is no place for racism in society and sport,” he said.
“We know there has been a protest to the umpires during the game, but at the moment I can’t really give any more details because I’m not aware of them.”
Western Vic Football general manager Stephen McQueen said the league had not received an official complaint from Natimuk United, but was ready to investigate if and when it did.
Friend said he believed the matter should be taken higher if the league was unable to resolve it.
“If the league doesn’t do anything about this, we’ll go to AFL Victoria and we’ll go straight to the top,” he said.
Friend suggested the club could call on champion former Wimmera footballer Adam Goodes to get involved.
Sydney Swans superstar Goodes made headlines last year when he was racially vilified by a young girl during an AFL match.
Goodes pointed out the offender during the match and has consistently campaigned against racism.
Mr Carine said he did not back Friend’s comments and they did not represent the view of the club.