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Spirit of the game ‘ignored’ at junior footy

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

The WA Football Commission has backed a decision by a junior football competition to overturn two one-sided results after deeming the winning teams ignored the spirit of the game.

The matches in the Southern Districts Junior Football Association under-13s and under-15s competitions were won by 95 and 73 points on July 22, with the results changed days later.

The SDJFA advised last Thursday the results would be recorded as forfeits against the winning teams after it was deemed they “ignored” the spirit of the game “to avoid such one-sided results”.

According to the WA Football Commission junior club manual, coaches and participants must abide by the No.1 bylaw, The Spirit of Junior Football, which is not a focus on winning at all costs, instead focusing on player development.

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A 60-point margin cap for players between 12 and 16 years old was introduced in WA in 2008, with the cap designed to give all players a go instead of focusing on playing for percentage. The cap currently exists in the under-13 and under-15 competitions in the SDJFA.

WAFC Great Southern regional manager Tom Moir commended the strong stance he believed was unprecedented for the association and said it was the responsibility of the coach to ensure one-sided results did not occur.

“The junior association do have the power to bring in those decisions,” he said. “The message is if the game gets beyond doubt, it’s the coaches’ responsibility to maintain that the game is at a competitive level. In this day and age, we are losing kids to things other than sport and they are dropping out because they are getting belted and there is no enjoyment.”

SDJFA president Michael O’Dea said the decision to issue forfeits against the two teams was made in line with the junior club manual, which promotes player development over winning at all costs.

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