‘I’m not at the ballet’: Cops bail up Pies fan for ‘barracking too loud’
June 11, 2019 — 11.05am
A footy fan at Monday’s Queen’s Birthday clash at the MCG claims he was threatened with eviction by half a dozen police because he was “barracking too loud”.
Pies supporter Simon Grech, 39, a self-described “very passionate supporter”, says he was sitting with a group of mates in his usual seat in the Collingwood reserve section when the police approached him in the second quarter after a spectacular Jordan De Goey goal.
Simon Grech says he was almost evicted by police at the MCG on Monday.
He said police acknowledged he was not swearing or being abusive, and when he questioned them about the apparent problem an officer replied: “Do you hear what I said? You’re barracking too loud”.
Mr Grech said another officer told him he wasn’t doing anything wrong but that they had to follow protocol.
“I want to to know whose orders are they acting on because it’s getting beyond a joke,” Mr Grech said.
"I’m not at the ballet, I’m at the footy. I pay $1000 a year … Why should the AFL take my money and then take away my right to support my team?
"For the whole second half I didn’t say boo. They used the words ‘unsociable barracking’ or something like that … do they want us to wear seat belts now so we can’t jump up?
“You want me to start fairy-clapping? Are we at a cupcake contest?”
The incident sparked a social media firestorm on Monday after someone sitting nearby posted to Twitter that the father of two was “not offensive, not swearing, just loud.”
Fans have been up in arms after a series of recent bans and evictions for what many say is no more than passionate supporting.
The AFL Fans Association is looking into Mr Grech’s claims and those of another supporter who posted to Twitter on Monday that four men sitting nearby were kicked out for no obvious reason.
The association’s president Gerry Eeman said he’s received a lot of complaints from fans about a new “overly heavy-handed approach” about what is acceptable at games.
“What is deemed acceptable has changed, but nobody’s actually been told.”
Mr Eeman said the recent spate of highly-publicised violence at the MCG was a separate problem.
“The issue is about fans feeling like there’s a big brother around and they’re unsure about what they can and can’t say,” he said.
“The overwhelming majority of fans want a no-tolerance approach to violence at the football.”
The association has called on the league to provide clarity about what can and can’t be said at the football.
Mr Grech said police told him Melbourne supporters sitting nearby, who he was initially unaware of given his Collingwood seats, had reported him for his barracking.
He said fellow fans offered their support after the incident, including the two elderly ladies who regularly sit behind him.
Mr Grech said police told him to tone it down and next time he would be evicted. He said he was worried police would be watching him when he’s next at the ground, to see the Pies play Hawthorn.
It comes as the AFL plans to hand down its review into the eviction for reportedly calling an umpire a “bald-headed flog”.
The move came in the days after four men, including a father and son, were charged with affray after the Collingwood-Carlton match at the MCG.
THE HAPPY CLAPPERS HAVE WON - FMD