Cheer squads in Melbourne claim the AFL are spying on them in a bid to eject fans during matches for shouting negative comments at umpires.
Brett Beattie, from Richmond’s cheer squad, said security guards from the AFL’s integrity unit had dressed up ‘like FBI agents’ in order to monitor fans and eject them if they get too rowdy.
Richmond’s cheer squad has already asked the AFL to send them a list of terms they can’t use after a string of patrons were removed from games.
Mr Beattie told The Herald Sun there was a notably beefed up security presence after a Richmond fan called an umpire a ‘green maggot’ during a Round 5 clash against Hawthorn.
‘We have noticed a massive increase in security around the cheer squad bays the last couple of weeks,’ he said.
‘There are two guys dressed up like FBI agents from the integrity department and a spotter who points us out to the integrity guys and takes photos and sends it to the club and tries to ban us.’
Western Bulldogs great Luke Darcy told Talking Footy he felt things were getting out of hand when it came to disciplining fans.
‘We’ve got undercover AFL investigators that are dressed up with a fake hat and moustache, is this communist China? What’s going on,’ he said.
On Saturday a member of the Carlton cheer squad was ejected from Marvel Stadium after allegedly calling umpire Matthew Nicholls a ‘bald headed flog’.
Nicholls pointed the fan out to security who escorted him from the ground.
He was reprimanded by officers from the AFL integrity unit and suspended from attending any games for three weeks.
Collingwood fan Simon Grech said he was threatened with eviction from the Cricket Ground on Monday night for ‘barracking too loud’.
‘I’m not at the ballet, I’m at the footy. I pay $1000 a year… Why should the AFL take my money and then take away my right to support my team?’ Mr Grech told The Age.
The 39-year-old said police approached him during the second half because of his behaviour during the game and told him he needed to ‘tone it down’.
‘You want me to start fairy clapping? Are we at a cupcake contest?’ Mr Grech said.
Mr Beattie said there was a place for heckling and wanted to know where the line was.
An official statement from the AFL said they would be investigating the incident from the weekend to assess if any further action is required.