Queanbeyan City Football Club is looking to turn over a new leaf and set the benchmark for spectator management next season after it was handed the biggest fine in Canberra's soccer history for referee abuse in July.
The club was fined $1000, docked 24 competition points from its NPL2 side and ordered to prepare a risk assessment management plan after a spectator cornered and threatened a referee in a change room and others shouted threats and misogynistic language at another in the side's fixtures against O'Connor Knights on July 10.
QCFC's new first grade coach Goran Josifovski said the club did not condone the behaviour and hoped to turn a new leaf next season through a spectator management plan.
"We certainly don't condone that," he said.
"Obviously football is a passionate game, that's why we play it, that's why we love it, but that passion has to be channelled in the right way. And we're hoping that that's going to be the case.
"The help from Capital Football, in terms of assisting clubs, providing guidelines on spectator management, protecting their own referees, is almost non-existent. It's sort of all left to the clubs and that's a bit disappointing. But from a Queanbeyan City perspective, we just want to see that sorry episode pass so that we can move forward ... so that we can bring the focus back to football, hopefully."
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Josifovski has been a part of QCFC since the early 2000s, having been a player-coach in 2018 and wants to help the side move forward. As one of Canberra's oldest clubs, Josifovski said it needed to lead the way on and off the field and hoped to do so by setting a benchmark for spectator management.
The club is looking at addressing the issue of abusive spectators by implementing terms and conditions on tickets - so they can be ejected easily from High Street if they do abuse referees - possible video and audio monitoring of the games and crowd, ensuring six match officials at each game and designated areas for fans of each side to sit.
Alongside physical barriers to limit spectator traffic flow in and out, and prevent spectators from accessing referee and player change rooms.
Josifovski said the new measures mitigated risk, but it was still very difficult for a volunteer-run club to manage spectators, especially with 1000 at a match.
"The club is trying to turn the leaf and have an approach to managing that risk but there always will be a risk," he said.
"The main thing is to have steps in place that mitigate risk. We're hoping it won't happen to any other club, because no referee should be subject to what those referees were subject to.
"The boys are just looking to get back to football, which hopefully will bring joy to them, me and everyone else involved with football in Canberra."
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