On behalf of the Board and management of the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA), I wish to address the report in the media today and the allegations made by MCC women’s player, Ms Aish Ravi, about the VAFA handling of her vilification and discrimination case.
It must be stated that the VAFA is totally committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable environment is provided for all our amateur, players, officials and supporters. The well being of all stakeholders is paramount.
As part of this environment, the VAFA adopts a zero tolerance to racism and vilification, and have adopted the AFL Victoria vilification and discrimination policy to appropriately address any such alleged matters.
The VAFA totally refute Ms Ravi’s claims that we have treated this particular case with “silence” and the claim that the existing policy doesn’t address the “seriousness of the matter”.
Following are the facts and timeline of this case:
* The VAFA immediately notified MCC and their opposition Club about the umpires match notes referencing the MCC players claims on the Monday after the game. The MCC official stated at the time that they were unaware of any such matter.
* The VAFA advised the MCC of the policy process involving steps of informal resolution, conciliation and formal investigation and allowed MCC an extension of time through to Wednesday to lodge an official request.
* In line with the policy, MCC and the opposition Club began discussing arrangements for an informal meeting.
* On Friday, the MCC advised the VAFA that both Clubs had agreed to schedule a informal zoom meeting for the following Monday.
* On that Monday, the MCC advised that they did not want to proceed with the scheduled informal meeting, and requested information on the process for a conciliation meeting.
* On Tuesday, MCC ask for information about the Conciliation process and request a copy of the umpires match report. VAFA advise the Concilitator’s next availability is Wednesday and request MCC to confirm whether they would like to voluntarily enter into Conciliation. We are still awaiting MCC’s response.
* On Wednesday VAFA provide MCC President and Vice President with a copy of the umpire match report.
* On Thursday VAFA is contacted by the media outlet stating that they have obtained a copy of the umpire match report and request comment. VAFA state that the investigation is confidential and ongoing. I place a call with the MCC President.
* On Friday I speak with the MCC President on Friday requesting a report on how the confidential document has reached the media.
I also confirmed that player welfare is our priority and requesting to be advised if there was anything further the VAFA could do to assist the player at this point in time.
The opposition Club contacts VAFA to say that they too have been contacted by the media for comment and express their anger over the actions of MCC.
* Player interview and photo appear in the media under the heading “All silence, VAFA player calls for action on racism”.
It is extremely disappointing that there has been severe breaches of confidentiality in this process in
1) confidential documents being released to the media; and
2) Ms Ravi providing an interview with the media;
at a time when all parties are awaiting their confirmation to attend a scheduled investigative hearing.
Through these actions, the breach of confidentiality has severely compromised the capacity of the process to adequately address all the claims.
It is also disappointing that the MCC and Ms Ravi have chosen this course of action at a time when we are celebrating the weekend when 14 VAFA women’s teams will be competing in grand finals, one of which involves their club.
Nevertheless, the VAFA will continue to seek an appropriate resolution to this matter that treats all parties with respect, and is committed to working with the AFL and all Metropolitan Leagues on the continual implementation of best practice vilification and discrimination processes.