“My personal view is … they should go,” McLachlan said. “That’s part of the discussions we can have with our venues. That is a look that actually has a challenge for supporters.”
AFL executives held emergency talks with Victoria Police, security operators and stadia this week after a strong backlash from fans who complained they felt intimidated by the behaviour of security staff.
This followed reports of fans being ejected from games, or being warned by security, for behaviour that was previously considered uncontroversial.
But McLachlan said on average two people in every 10,000 are ejected, which is consistent with last season’s figures, and noted that crowds are up this year.
“A supporter should never feel the security staff are there for any other reason than to ensure a safe day at the footy,” he said.
It is understood the same number of security staff and police have been deployed at games this year but the way they policed matches, with extra patrols up aisles, had altered this year.
That change to patrols came after a number of violent incidents early in the season year left many fans complaining of feeling unsafe at games.
McLachlan said the behaviour threshold had been not altered – supporters will still be ejected for offensive language and behaviour – and that fans would not be thrown out just for being loud and passionate.
It is understood for an averaged sized crowd there are about 12 complaints per match to the text message hotline where fans can dob in a supporter behaving badly.
“I wasn’t to be clear about this: our philosophy on this has not changed,” McLachlan said.
“We want our fans to come to the footy and be themselves. Equally, we want the men, women and children of our game to feel safe.
“I want to be make this really clear: no one at the AFL is trying to stop our crowds being passionate fans and barracking. No one. Every fan must feel they can express themselves but likewise every fan has a right to feel safe.”
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.