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Life bans could help silence football trolls

The peak body representing AFL supporters is calling for the game to hand down tougher penalties for those caught hurling racist abuse at players at the ground and on social media.

AFL Fans Association President Gerry Eeman told Macquarie Sports Radio the AFL could come down hard on unruly spectators as a way of deterring similar behaviour.

“There is no prescribed approach at the moment. For a long time all the industry did was wag a finger,” Eeman told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.

Several AFL players have been the subject of racially-motivated abuse in recent weeks. Some has occurred at the ground, but the majority took place on social media.

Port Adelaide’s Patrick Ryder was the latest player to be slurred online after his performance in his side’s win over reigning Premiers West Coast on Good Friday.

Last month, Richmond suspended one of its supporters for racially abusing West Coast player Liam Ryan.

Other prominent indigenous players Eddie Betts and Travis Varcoe have also been targeted online.

“With the facial recognition software they have at a lot of stadiums these days, you could ban casual fans as well as members,” Eeman said.

“A more substantial ban – life, 20 years or at least 10 years – that would seem to me to be warranted. I hope those penalties become stricter and bigger,” he said.

Click below to hear the full interview. Listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin – 5.00am-7.00am Saturday and Sunday mornings