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Teenage umpire forced to lock himself in change rooms to protect himself at country footy match

A 17-year-old umpire has been forced to lock himself in the change rooms to protect himself from an abusive crowd at a game in East Gippsland on the weekend.

Kevin told Neil Mitchell his son wants to give up umpiring after the frightening ordeal during a seniors game between Swan Reach and Buchan in the Omeo District League on Saturday.

“I got a phone call from him during the afternoon, he was in the change rooms and I could tell by his voice he was very emotional,” Kevin said.

“He was scared.

“He told me there was a booing crowd outside and there were police on the way to guard the door.”

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But while Victoria Police acknowledge there was an incident at Swan Reach, they say at this stage no formal complaints have been made and they were not called to the match on the day (editor note: the initial reports that police attended this incident were incorrect and the article has been amended).

Kevin said during the second quarter his son awarded a free kick which resulted in a player assaulting another player.

“He red-carded the offending player who refused to get off the ground and went back and assaulted the player again and it turned into quite a large incident,” he said.

“He threw his hands in the air and said game’s off.”

Kevin said the president of one of the clubs stormed onto the ground and began verbally abusing his son, who felt unsafe and spent an hour barricaded inside the change rooms.

“It’s appalling,” he said.

“He wanted to make umpiring a career.

“He said, ‘Dad this is my last game I can’t do this any more’.

“The AFL needs to step in.”

3AW Mornings has contacted the Omeo District League for comment.

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