AN Irymple supporter faces severe sanctions after a league investigation identified the person who assaulted Imperials' Sam Butterworth after the Sunraysia Football Netball League (SFNL) grand final.
Video footage taken from the match was used to identify the supporter, who is not a member of the Irymple Football Netball Club and holds no official role with the club, as the person who struck the Imps player from behind, causing him to collapse to the ground.
Watch the video:
"You can only imagine if this had happened to one of the more senior players or potentially witnessed by some spectators – imagine the stink we would be dealing with now if you've got four or five hundred people in the middle of a football ground remonstrating and carrying on," SFNL executive officer Peter Walker said.
"It could have blown up into something quiet large – thankfully that didn't happen, but we can't condone those sort of actions and the league will look at taking a pretty hard line on the matter."
Mr Walker said Imperials had indicated they did not want the matter investigated by police, but the league felt it needed to act to ensure this type of behaviour did not happen again.
"The club has indicated to the league they weren't interested in pursuing that line (police investigation)," Mr Walker said.
"But the league felt an obligation seeing we had clear vision of the incident to instigate our own investigation."
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Mr Walker said he had been made aware of the assault by officials of the Imperials Football Netball Club on the evening of the grand final.
"The matter was brought to the attention of the league on the Saturday night of the grand final that one of the Imps players was assaulted directly following the game by a spectator," Mr Walker said.
"The person who committed the assault was identified, interviewed and admitted he was the person who was shown in the match-day footage.
"It clearly shows him entering the oval, running out and assaulting Imperials Football Netball player Sam Butterworth from behind, knocking him to the ground and then running off to join the celebrations.
"The video footage showed clearly a pretty senseless and cowardly act by this fella."
The SFNL board will meet later this month to discuss the investigation officer's findings.
Mr Walker said they would be seeking advice and direction from AFL Victoria prior to the meeting.
"At this stage I can't pre-empt what can be done," Mr Walker said.
"This bloke has been identified as not being an official or a member within the club (Irymple).
"Basically he is just Joe Blow going along to the footy, but the matter will be discussed at board level and we will go from there."