Time for tribunal transparency

IT’S time for some change in the Barossa, Light & Gawler Football Association.

This past fortnight we’ve seen two players reported and all we know from the outcome is that they escaped any penalty.

However, the most important information regarding both incidents has not been made publicly available – namely, how and why the rulings were made.

When asked by The Bunyip for this information, the BL&G said the tribunal would not be speaking about its decisions.

On Wednesday, Barossa District forward Alan Obst escaped penalty for his striking charge despite many people who watched the game alleging he did in fact strike Tanunda’s AJ Prior.

But while Obst was present to argue his case at the tribunal, there were no other witnesses called to give evidence.

Prior wasn’t present to defend himself.

We don’t even know who is on the tribunal board.

As for the second report, during the Freeling and Kapunda game in round three, we are unsure, due to no confirmation from the league, who it was that was reported.

So, BL&GFA, if you want to do something, do it correctly and with clarity.

Set up a camera at each end of the field – you’ll be able to get the full field view, and then there’s no issue with transparency, and everyone knows what the incident is.

On Saturday week, Obst’s clash with Prior sparked a whole-field melee, and last Wednesday he was found not guilty and free to play. The number of players moving from senior colts to senior football is alarmingly small, and how is that going to increase when some players fear for their safety during a melee, especially if it’s an 18-year-old kid?

For a junior, there’s a fear element of playing senior football.

To make it clear, I’m not at all suggesting that Obst was guilty of striking.

However, to avoid any confusion regarding a decision there needs to be a public record of tribunal hearings, a brief summary of what the charge was, the penalty that was offered, what the outcome was, and an explanation of how that outcome was reached.

We’re in an age where technology is supposed to be used to our benefit, where all this information should be made available to all media and, eventually, to the public.

If this doesn’t change any time soon, then we’re going to see the BL&G rumour mill continue around and around every week and season, without getting any closer to the truth.

For the future of the sport in the region, and for the quality to improve, it’s time for the BL&GFA to do something, and do it now.

Jack Hudson

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Growing up in Gawler, Jack has taken on a variety of journalistic roles while still studying for his Bachelor of Journalism and Creative Writing degree. He began his career at The Bunyip as a weekend football writer, before taking on roles with The Footy Budget and The Cricket Chronicle and then earning his first part-time gig at the Barossa Herald. Now returning to The Bunyip, Jack also has a keen interest in footy and soccer, as well as a passion for gaming and reading.

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