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Sports minister weighs in on embattled South Bunbury football club as tribunal begins

Western Australia’s sports minister has put a regional football club on notice, calling on it to fix its culture after most of its women’s team resigned over sexism and racism claims.

The South Bunbury Football Club withdrew its women’s team from the local league earlier this week after almost the entire team walked out in response to the club’s handling of sexism complaints and an on-field racial sledge.

The South West Football League (SWFL) is conducting a two-day tribunal with the club and the players to better understand the turmoil.

Sports Minister David Templeman said there was no room in community sport for racist or sexist behaviour.

“There’s some people who are very hurt by what’s occurred … there needs to be some restoration of relationships,” he said.

“We will certainly monitor how the club is going.

The South West Football League is meeting with the club and the women’s team to conduct a review. (ABC South West: Sam Bold)

“I hope that the leadership of the football club will look very closely at their own leadership and make sure that they do everything they possibly can to restore faith in them and indeed, support for the club more broadly.

“It’s got to happen quickly.”

Important to hear both sides

SWFL president Barry Tate asked two integrity officers from the WA Football Commission to attend the tribunal with the club.

Headshot of Local Government Minister David Templeman looking perplexed.
David Templeman wrote to South Bunbury Football Club calling on them to fix the club’s culture. (ABC News: Eliza Laschon)

“We will sit down and look at how it was conducted from both sides and we will receive [a report] from the football commission, and then we’ll air it after,” Mr Tate said.

“There’s obviously a lot of speculation in the media of what’s happened.”

The tribunal will meet with the aggrieved women’s players tonight.

Mr Tate said the issue of the on-field racist sledge had escalated away from what should have been done.

“There was a breach of media policy with the player actually broadcasting his concerns into the media,” Mr Tate said.

“We’ve got to carry out [the tribunal] and make sure we protect both parties.”

Cultural change needed at the club

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