Men’s football team stood down for unacceptable behaviour

Female footy players from Donvale were tripped over and ranked as they ran onto the grounds for their second half on the weekend. Picture: ON FILE

By Tanya Steele

Knox Football Netball Club’s development team has been stood down indefinitely following reports of unacceptable behaviour from male players towards an opposing women’s team.

Female football players from Donvale were allegedly subjected to both verbal abuse and physical contact from male players on an opposing team on the weekend of Saturday 11 May.

This behaviour comes after recent news of Yarra Valley Grammar male students ranking female students in a list based on their appearance, with two boys expelled.

3AW’s reporter Jacqui Felgate stated on air on Monday 13 May that male Knox players were involved in the incident as women’s Donvale players ran out for their second half.

“As the women ran out at half time, male players from Knox lined up on either side of the race, and yelled at ratings for each player,” she said.

“They held out their legs to trip the women over and used the phrases yes, no, mediocre, rating each female player.”

“The players were rightly upset but they played out the rest of the game.”

Knox Football Netball Club released a statement to Facebook on Thursday 16 May confirming that the KFNC is standing down the Development Team indefinitely pending the outcome of the investigation.

“Upon learning of the incident, KFNC initiated an immediate investigation to understand what transpired and to take appropriate action. KFNC recognises that such behaviour is completely unacceptable and does not reflect the values of the club,” the statement said.

Prior to this the KFNC released a statement on to it’s community on Facebook that ‘behaviour of this kind is completely unacceptable at our club, and we are deeply concerned by the incident.’

“We have extended our deepest apologies to the Donvale Football club, and will continue to work closely with them and the EFNL to keep them informed on the outcome and actions we will take as a result of our investigation. The safety of all players is paramount and we do not tolerate antisocial behaviour or behaviour that is disrespectful to women.” the statement read.

The President of Donvale Football Club John Giles said on Tuesday 14 May that their club had been made aware by their women’s team that they were subjected to offensive remarks by an opposing club on Saturday.

“This is a matter of serious concern and we are investigating further,” he said.

Mr Giles said that Donvale have been informed that both the opposing club and the league are investigating the matter.”

“We feel that no further comment should be made by us until these investigations are completed,” he said.

KFNC’s statement said that the KFNC committee understand the gravity of the situation and the importance of taking swift and decisive action.

“We are committed to learning from this incident and ensuring that such behaviour is not repeated in the future,” the statement said.

After no initial response online or to Star Mail, the Eastern Football Netball League (EFNL) also released a statement on Thursday 16 May that said that the EFNL had been made aware of the incident between the Donvale and Knox Footbal Clubs on 11 May.

EFNL Chief Executive Jy Bond further stated in the statement that the EFNL has worked closely with both clubs since that time and is committed to overseeing a thorough independent investigation process.

“The Knox Development team has been stood down until the investigation has concluded,” she said.

“As a league, the EFNL do not condone or tolerate any disrespectful and intimidating behaviour towards our participants.”

Apart from the complete stop to gameplay while the investigation continues, the KFNC included several other immediate measures in response to the half time incident.

They included an independent investigation by the EFNL, a mandatory educational program across the entire club and the establishment of an ongoing partnership with a local family violence shelter.

“Our Club stands for inclusivity, respect, and safety for all members, and we will continue to uphold these values in everything we do” the KFNC Committee said.