AFL to back umpire’s call in response to Essendon


It’s understood that if an umpire was faced with exactly the same scenario this week, the AFL’s view is they would need to make the same assessment as to whether the player climbing the post was “intentionally” shaking the goal or behind post.

The AFL’s view, however, is that it would take action against a player climbing the goal post just as it did against Rampe in handing him a fine, despite his behaviour not being covered by a specific rule.

The AFL charged Rampe with conduct unbecoming and prejudicial to the interests of the game for climbing the goal post and slapped a suspended $1000 fine on the 28-year-old All-Australian, arguing the penalty was necessary to ensure players were aware such behaviour was outside the spirit of the game.

Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell had earlier told SEN that the Bombers had sought clarification on the ruling in the game’s best interests, with the club of the view a free kick should have been paid.

However he was careful to point out that the club respected the fact umpiring was an extremely difficult job and that the club was taking ownership for the loss that put them in 13th spot with three wins and five losses after eight games.

The Bombers became frustrated at AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan’s initial response, that the umpire used “common sense” in making the decision, and the confused signal the suspended fine to Rampe sent about the decision.

Meanwhile one part of the ongoing saga concluded on Thursday when the Sydney Swans decided not to appeal the fines handed out to Rampe, which included a $10,000 fine (with $5000 suspended) for telling umpire Jacob Mollison he had a voice “like a little girl” when he failed to hear the umpire call play on and was caught holding the ball.

The Swans remain adamant the penalty was excessive, particularly when compared to sanctions applied in similar situations, but decided to move on.

The AFL has argued the penalty was handed down for the derogatory manner in which the umpire was spoken to and because of the nature of the comments, with its view being that Mollison was entitled to accept them without penalising Rampe, but as the governing body it had a responsibility to take further action.

Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.

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