Junior coach suspended for commenting on alleged racism

The coach of two under 15 footballers who were allegedly racially abused in a game on June 2 has been suspended for three weeks and his club fined $1000.

The Northern Football League tribunal handed down the penalties on Tuesday night to Reservoir Colts and its under 15s coach Peter Milne, punishing Milne for “conduct unbecoming” for his comments when contacted last week by Fairfax Media about the alleged vilification of his young players. The $1000 fine against Reservoir is suspended.

The NFL tribunal last week suspended Mohammed Awo for six matches for threatening behaviour after he vowed to put Hurstbridge opponents “in hospital” at the end of their game. Mohammed claimed he was responding to racial abuse, including being called a “black c—” and “black monkey” by opponents and a by Hurstbridge official.

He also claimed a teammate of Sudanese origin was told by a Hurstbridge player, “This isn’t the game for you, it’s not for black people.”

Reservoir lodged an official complaint with the NFL, which is investigating the allegations. Fairfax understands no interviews with any of the players involved have yet taken place.

When contacted by Fairfax last week, Milne described the suspension of Mohammed as “the most disgraceful decision I’ve ever heard of”.

NFL chief executive Jeremy Bourke said on Wednesday the Racial and Religious Vilification policy was explicit in its demand for confidentiality, as are the league’s rules on commenting on tribunal decisions.

“We’re quite strict with our coaches and our clubs about commentary regarding tribunal hearings, and he came out in the paper and made comments about the tribunal process and also the decision,” Bourke said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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