AFL to stamp out homophobia

AFL to stamp out homophobia

The AFL will extend its racial and religious vilification policy to cover sexual orientation in an attempt to stamp out homophobia.

When implemented the AFL will become one of the world’s leading sporting codes to proactively address homophobia as prohibited conduct.

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou unexpectedly announced the changes on the ABC Offsiders program on Sunday morning, confirming the vilification rule would also cover people with disabilities.

We’re living in an age now where those things are unacceptable, Demetriou told the ABC. We’re a mature society. I don’t think anyone frowns upon Lindsay Lohan because she comes out and says she’s a lesbian.

I hope nobody in society is criticised or ridiculed based on their sexual orientation, their ethnicity, their background. We live in a very multicultural, diverse community which we should all be very grateful for.

Anyone now found to have engaged in homophobic vilification will be required to attend an education program conducted by the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria or similar body. Where conciliation has not been met, complaints can be heard by the AFL Tribunal or be referred to the AFL Commission.

Sanctions will apply to those who fail to attend education programs and clubs will also be liable for the behaviour of coaches and players and could face fines up to $50,000 if a serious breach is found.

Anti-homophobia in sport campaigner Rob Mitchell praised the change as a perfect outcome, and said the push to change the AFL’s policy had been brewing for some time.

There hasn’t been the ignition source as there was with the racism policy with Michael Long and Nicky Winmar, but it’s long overdue, he said.

What we’re talking about is a health issue and it’s a positive step to combat this, especially the repercussions for rural clubs.

The Australian Sports Commission’s Nadine Cohen welcomed the AFL’s move, saying it serves as a great example to other codes.

The Australian Sports Commission actively promotes harassment-free sport and the AFL is congratulated on its latest measures, she said.

The policy change puts the AFL ahead of the National Rugby League in protecting players from specific sexual orientation vilification, although the NRL does mention sexual orientation in its general code of conduct.

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6 responses to “AFL to stamp out homophobia”

  1. The AFL is hardly a perfect gentleman’s game, and has over many years had incidents that have tarnished the image of the most physical and skilled game in the football world.
    Swanettes rejoice, rather than belittling this move; which is as stated, a world first in leading from the front; couldn’t we just write to thank the AFL for their affirmative action.

    If you want support, Mardi Gras floats or funding, stop bagging a forward step by the best managed and promoted sport in the country.

    Getting the message into the community is vitally important as the AFL has a juniors program in every town and territory in the country. Sporting heroes promote positive attitudes that influence many aspects of society. Ensuring tolerance in indigenous community will be greatly enhanced by this positive policy approach.

    Thank you SSO for publicising this issue within the community, and Alex Demetriou for your no nonsense leadership of Australian Football.

  2. Wow. This is a significant step for the AFL to make this announcement.

    Well done to all the people involved in getting this across the line. Everyone can play and participate in this great game. Skill and ability was never defined by one’s sexuality and it was never a precursor to failure either.

    With this change in place it will now be interesting to see how it is policed/enforced and supported through all levels of the AFL Code around the world. I look forward to reading it in the Laws and code of the game.

  3. Interesting, as this is the same code who allowed a club to sack a bisexual trainer last year.
    No AFL player has ever come out, unlike the NRL with Ian Roberts.
    Also no AFL club has supported Midsumma, nor the Swans sypported Mardi Gras, where as with the NRL, the Bulldogs once sponsored a float for the Canterbury-Bankstown group.
    I believe Souths and Easts have also been represented.
    That aside, it is good to see a major sport confronting homophobia directly.
    It’s also a good thing that “the NRL does mention sexual orientation in its general code of conduct.” Perhaps this will pressure them to take it even further.
    Now for Rugby Union, Soccer and Cricket.

  4. I just want to say one thing! Get that “Footy Show” off the air. Theyre just as irritating now as they were in their infancy back in 92. Theres enough damn sports channels rather than clogging up channel 9.

  5. Better late than ever – how ’bout Shane Crawford heading up the discussion seminars?