AFL bans accused footy brawlers for five years
THREE men charged over a brawl at the MCG have been banned from AFL matches for five years, as the league gets tough on crowd violence.
The AFL has threatened to ban anyone convicted of violence and affray from matches nationwide in response to a rise in fights among supporters in the stands.
AFL operations general manager Travis Auld said the league would even consider lifetime bans for the most serious incidents of violence, but could not define what level of controversy that would require.
"That is a harsh penalty and we make no apologies for it," he said. "Five years is a long time."
Police have charged three men, including a father and son, in relation to four separate incidents at the Collingwood v Carlton match at the MCG last Saturday.
The AFL has banned all three from matches until 2024 and vowed to dish out the same punishment to the fourth fan once he is caught.
A fourth man allegedly involved in a brawl at the same clash has handed himself in to police.
Police commander Tim Hanson said three people had been arrested and charged in relation to "the violent outburst and fight" in the final quarter.
A 36-year-old man from Diggers Rest and a father and son from Rosebud, aged 41 and 20, had been arrested and charged.
He said police were "becoming increasingly concerned about elements of crowds that are coming along to AFL games and escalating in violence" and "some families and ardent supporters of AFL football are starting to feel a bit fearful about coming along to the football."
He said police data indicated more people were becoming violent at the football.
Illicit drugs, as well as alcohol, were part of the problem.
The MCC will continue serving full-strength alcohol during day matches, with chief executive Stuart Fox suggesting removing the service would "ruin it for the vast majority of fans".
The AFL, police and the MCC have ruled out segregating fans, but urged supporters to report any violent acts.