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Life ban for under-19s footballer who punched umpire in the face

The Age logo The Age 5 days ago Chloe Booker

Video provided by Nine News

An under-19s football player has received a lifetime ban from the game after punching an umpire in the face.

The Parkmore Springvale Districts player pleaded guilty before the league's tribunal on Tuesday night.

The 19-year-old struck the umpire, also aged 19, in the second quarter of a match against East Brighton at Springvale Reserve on Saturday.

He became angry when the umpire awarded a free kick to the opposition.

This led to the umpire awarding East Brighton a 50-metre penalty, before he was punched.

"We’re disappointed by the whole incident," league chief executive Mike Palmer said.

"It was sad and unfortunate."

Mr Palmer said the player was "extremely remorseful" and had written the umpire a heartfelt apology, which was accepted. "He let a lot of people down," he said.

The umpire reportedly suffered a cut lip and the match was abandoned.

The lifetime ban means the footballer will not be able to play for any league, including the AFL.

However, Mr Palmer said there were avenues the player could take in the future to try to return to the game, but this would be a rare situation.

"We don’t want to close doors for people," he said.

Mr Palmer, who supports the tribunal's decision, said anger management and counselling would be offered to the teen.

He said the umpire, who was left shaken but not seriously injured, would also be offered support.

Springvale Districts president Sean Francis released a statement on Sunday saying the violence was "most certainly not what Springvale Districts Football Club stands for".

"We pride ourselves on our values of respect and appropriate behaviour and take a very strong position on [it]," he said.

Mr Francis said the behaviour was "completely unacceptable".

"There is no place in our sport for this type of incident whatsoever. We all understand the importance of setting the right example, particularly in underage competitions.

"Our immediate concern is for the welfare of the umpire and the club will continue to support him in whatever way we can."

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