‘Enough is enough’: No place for poor behaviour at local footy

Clubs and games of Australian Rules Football, at all levels, are places where everyone should feel welcome, regardless of their role or background. Photo: Jack Foley

Local football leagues and associations across Victoria are banding together to stamp out bad behaviour and send a message to those who cross the line that ‘enough is enough’.

Clubs and games of Australian Rules Football, at all levels, are places where everyone should feel welcome, regardless of their role or background. Passion and support are big parts of local footy, but there is no place for racism, vilification, abuse, violence of any kind or threatening behaviour that makes individuals or groups feel unsafe.

The vast majority of people involved in the local game carry themselves and represent their clubs and communities in the right way, but unfortunately there are too many instances of serious breaches of acceptable standards.

There are free resources available to clubs and associations to help inform and educate their communities around behavioural standards, available at:

The Integrity Portal provides an opportunity to raise issues that contravene rules and policy including vilification, discrimination, wagering, illicit substances, concerns involving children or minors, grooming, sexual or physical assault.

Whether it’s directed at umpires, players, coaches, administrators or supporters - poor behaviour that doesn’t meet community standards, which could be at games, online or at football venues like administrative offices, will not be tolerated.

League administrators have reported a number of instances during season 2024 where they have been targeted because of backlash to decisions made to address and punish poor behaviour. Some of these instances have required police intervention.

Racism and other forms of vilification at all levels of the game, from junior local footy through to the elite game, are banned by the AFL – that means players and spectators – while racism is also against the law (under the Racial Discrimination Act). For example, people can be reported to the police or Australia’s E-Safety Commissioner for racist social media posts.

Apart from racism, the AFL also bans abuse based on themes like religion, country of origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and body shape.

Head of AFL Victoria, Greg Madigan, said: “Local football clubs are often the heartbeat of towns and communities across Victoria. Clubs and the incredible people who run them, mostly volunteers, do so much good for their communities.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see instances of violence, vilification, abuse and threatening behaviour, all of which is completely unacceptable at any level of football and society in general. There is no place in the game for people who use violence, vilification, abuse and threatening behaviour and other forms of unacceptable behaviour.

“Enough is enough. We urge people to call out anything they see or hear about, if it’s safe to do so, to help ensure we continue to address the few who refuse to behave to acceptable standards. The AFL takes this very seriously and is ready to help and support victims of poor behaviour.”


AFL Safety and Inclusion hub

The AFL Safety and Inclusion hub on the Play AFL website is a free online hub of resources to help leagues and clubs understand what’s available to them to help creative inclusive environments and address vilification and discrimination in the game, at all levels.

Vilification toolkit for local clubs and leagues

Includes suggested messaging, graphics to download to help clubs and leagues here

AFL Integrity Portal

Reports of any behaviour that contravenes AFL rules and policies can be made privately and anonymously, if preferred, via the AFL Integrity Portal 

Australian Government eSafety Commissioner online portal

eSafety is Australia's independent regulator for online safety. It provides resources to educate Australians about online safety risks and help to remove harmful content such as cyberbullying of children, adult cyber abuse and intimate images or videos shared without consent. Click here