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Players to front anti-abuse ads at games

Callum Twomey  May 31, 2013 2:55 PM

Players' message for fans New scoreboard messages encourage fans to barrack in a positive way
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Matthew Pavlich is among the big names who will front an AFL campaign to cut down spectator abuse

There is no place for vitriol and any form of serious abuse, be that racist attacks or other deeply personal slights on our players and or rival fans
SOME of the AFL's biggest names will front pre-game messages displayed on scoreboards this weekend onwards in an aim to cut down spectator abuse.

Jobe Watson, Brent Harvey, Matthew Pavlich and Kieren Jack are some of the players involved in the initiative, which will see players from each club address fans at the venue telling them to support their team in the right spirit.

Messages from players at every club have been filmed and they will commence being shown at Friday night's game between the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood at the Gabba, and will continue at every game for the remainder of the season.

In the moments before the start of each match, a message from a player from both the home and away team will be played.

"It is extremely important to our players, our clubs and the AFL that all fans attending our matches are entitled to enjoy games, without being subject to poor behaviour by other supporters around them in the venue," the AFL's football operations manager Mark Evans said.

"Barracking hard for your team and good natured banter with the opposition fans has been part of our game for more than a century.

"But there is no place for vitriol and any form of serious abuse, be that racist attacks or other deeply personal slights on our players and or rival fans."

The plan was flagged earlier this year by Evans and will be implemented following the racial comments aimed at Sydney Swans champion Adam Goodes last week.

Evans said it had been a player-driven concept.

"Our players, through the annual meeting of club captains with the AFL Commission, have raised this issue as a concern for them while recent events have also highlighted the need for continued education for some fans on the standards that supporters are entitled to expect when they attend AFL matches."