ACT News

Capital Football locks out under-12s crowd after violent melee

An alleged violent incident involving parents and players has forced Capital Football to take the unprecedented step of locking the crowd out of an under-12s soccer game.

Capital Football confirmed the incident occurred when Canberra Olympic and Canberra FC last met at Downer on June 7 and they are scheduled to meet again at Deakin Stadium in the last round of the season on August 23.

Capital Football will lock the crowd out of an under-12s soccer game between Canberra Olympic and Canberra FC.
Capital Football will lock the crowd out of an under-12s soccer game between Canberra Olympic and Canberra FC. 

It is believed it was a fiery encounter, culminating in an FC player kicking his Olympic opponent, for which the 16-year-old referee sent him off.

The two players then exchanged punches, which sparked the parent of the Olympic player to run on to the pitch and allegedly grab the FC child by the throat. His father then rushed out to defend his son, shoulder charging the Olympic parent before getting hit from behind by another spectator.

A mother at the game came out and helped the shaken FC boy off the field. The Canberra Times has withheld everyone's names to avoid identifying the children involved.

Capital Football suspended the FC player for seven weeks, banned his father from games until July 17 and the Olympic parent until August 31.


The FC player is also banned from playing the next time the teams meet, while only players, coaches and officials will be allowed inside Deakin Stadium on Saturday week.

ACT Policing said they were not investigating the matter.

It is the second crowd shut-out for Canberra soccer this season after a State League game was also clamped down on a few weeks ago for a violent encounter.

The FC parent said Capital Football's punishments were excessive – for his son, himself and most of the parents and players penalised.

He was angry his name had been tarnished for simply trying to protect his son, who has been "a bit flat" since the incident, but declined counselling when his father offered it.

He was also disappointed FC were not given the three points because they were leading 3-1 before the game was abandoned near the scheduled end, putting their chance of playing finals in jeopardy.

"That guy got the rest of the season suspension for attacking a child," the FC parent said.

"Not banned for life, not banned for two years, he got the rest of the season, that's it.

"That's the only penalty that's been received by Olympic. What is that for attacking a child, violently attacking a child?

"It wasn't a conscious decision to run on the field, I just did it [to protect my son]."

Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid defended the punishments, including the 12-week ban for the parent who allegedly grabbed a child by the throat.

She said the shut-out was designed to send a message to all parents that this sort of behaviour was unacceptable. Reid rejected suggestions soccer had a problem with violence and said 400 weekend games for all ages were played during Canberra's winter.

"This is one incident out of hundreds of games we run every weekend and it sends a message that we won't tolerate inappropriate behaviour by parents," she said.

"While you can fine clubs or suspend individuals ... but having a closed game sends a very clear message that we won't tolerate inappropriate behaviour. I support what the disciplinary panel has decided."


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