SOURCE: The Standard
A WARRNAMBOOL man allegedly suffering ongoing injury after being punched and stomped on during a grand final crowd brawl is suing the Mininera and District Football League.
It is believed to be one of the first cases where a spectator has taken legal action against a league over a violent incident.
Michael Keilar, aged in his 30s, has launched proceedings seeking compensation for loss of earnings and pain and suffering.
A writ was mailed to league officials last week and the case is expected to go to a court hearing early next year.
Solicitor, Creon Coolahan of Stringer Clark, told The Standard his client was a former player in the league and had taken his wife and two young children to watch the final at Mininera oval in September 2011.
The 2011 MDFL grand final crowd at Mininera Oval, where a man was hurt in a brawl and is now suing the league.
When a spectator brawl started behind goal posts during the seniors match, Mr Keilar was concerned for the safety of his children and went looking for them.
“He was coward-hit from behind and his right leg was stomped on while he lay unconscious,” Mr Coolahan said.“Later when he was taken to Ararat Hospital he was diagnosed with two fractures in his leg.
“As a result of the serious nature of his injuries he was laid off work for six months while recovering.
“He has recently had to find lighter work and is likely to have continued problems with his leg for the rest of his life.”
Neither the league nor AFL Country Victoria would comment on Wednesday.
Mr Coolahan said he was not aware of any similar claims that had been lodged against a football league.
“This is a wake-up call to football administrators who have a duty of care to patrons attending events,” he said.
“Mr Keilar was hit from behind while simply trying to protect his children from harm.
“It was a disgraceful scene and reflected poorly on the game’s organisers at the time.
“The league had a duty of care towards spectators that they failed to honour and my client was left to pick up the pieces.
“You should be able to attend a game of footy with your family and not wind up in hospital as a result of some drunken mob attacking you.”
Subsequently the league implemented stricter controls on its matches including a ban on BYO alcohol and searches of vehicles entering grounds.
The Standard understands police were unable to find the assault culprits. Mr Coolahan has called for witnesses to the brawl to contact him.