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Understanding the Tribunal

Trials and Tribunals

The quiet men of local football are our Tribunal Members and they like it that way!

Long serving Chairman Robin Edgecombe has been in the Chair for 20 plus years and along with Brian Williamson, who has been around too long to remember,they are more than happy to have nothing to do all year.

The tribunal panel has expanded to nine this year as Board Umpires Delegate Jan Corey & CMC Chair Rod Garner have been on the recruiting trail! Tribunal panel Members Paul Edwards & Jim Hickey have been around for a while and the ranks now also include Paul Hammond, Mick Stoltenberg, Cathy Pryor, Pat Evers and Darren Downing.

On Monday 29th April  most of the panel met with Rod Garner, Board Chairman Peter Nash and Umpires coordinator Shane Chapman to discuss the Tribunal matters, and to discuss the role Umpires and the Tribunal panel play in the reporting procedure.

AFL BH now utilises the AFL NSW/ACT Prescribed Penalties system and understanding this process by Umpires, Clubs, Players will minimise the number of reports that ultimately get challenged at the Tribunal.  Umpires have the whistle to control most issues but occasionally players overstep the mark and fall foul of the rules of the game and are reported. The Umpire, based on the facts, decides whether to use the prescribed penalty template or refer more serious incidents direct to the Tribunal.

A YELLOW card can be a 15 minute send off of the Player who can be replaced. A yellow card does not have to be a report, but can be!  For more serious breaches a RED card (& automatic report) is issued and the player is sent off for the rest of the game and the player can’t be replaced for 15 minutes.

Players, if offered a Prescribed Penalty, have the option to accept the penalty or request a tribunal hearing, usually 6pm Monday nights!

The Tribunal panel will be 3 persons and the reporting Umpire and his advocate will detail the report and answer any questions the panel may have. The Player will also have the opportunity to give his evidence and his advocate is allowed to inform the panel of the players past record and offer support for the player.

To contest a Prescribed Penalty decision the Player needs to argue that the report is incorrect. The Tribunal will normally have four possible outcomes: dismiss the case, reduce the penalty, keep the penalty the same or increase the penalty!

Players also need to understand the “auditory” abuse of Umpires is “weighted” very heavily so a Player red carded for threatening an umpire is likely to be watching footy for 4-6 weeks!

Umpires provide a service and are not looking for Players to report…ultimately it’s the Players that need to ensure they play within the rules of the game said Mr Chapman!

Mr Garner stated the meeting was a very positive session for all, and he expressed hope that the Tribunal panel had very few cold Monday Nights at Lionel Johnston House.