Adelaide Oval Deny Aboriginal People Were Refused Entry
The operators of Australia's Adelaide Oval have blamed a misunderstanding after a box office staff member claimed she was ordered not to sell Aboriginal people tickets to an Australian Rules game.
Sydney: The operators of Australia's Adelaide Oval have blamed a misunderstanding after a box office staff member claimed she was ordered not to sell Aboriginal people tickets to an Australian Rules game.
The woman told broadcaster ABC that a supervisor "turned around and told everyone in the box office we'd been told not to sell tickets to any more Aboriginal people".
"I felt sick to my stomach," added the unnamed employee of McArthur Recruitment, who provide staff to operate the stadium's box offices.
The allegation sparked an online backlash, with the sport blighted by racism in recent years.
Adelaide Oval on Saturday apologised to "anyone who has been negatively affected", but general manager of operations Darren Chandler said it had been a misunderstanding.
He said during the lead-up to a match between Adelaide and Geelong in July last year, police and security became concerned about a "highly intoxicated" group of people trying to gain entry who were "behaving in an aggressive way".
A directive to refuse them tickets was misinterpreted to not allow Aboriginal people in.
"Our staff work incredibly hard to make sure everyone feels welcome at Adelaide Oval and entry is only ever denied when someone is judged to be in breach of our conditions of entry," Chandler said in a statement.
"Therefore, it is extremely disappointing that a supervisor in the ticketing office misinterpreted a message from police and didn't follow established protocols that would have clarified the situation.
"We are unequivocal in our stance that everyone is welcome at Adelaide Oval and we condemn discrimination in any form," he added.
Australian Rules is the country's biggest spectator sport, but has been marred by racism scandals in the past.
Only last week West Coast Eagles forward Liam Ryan was called a "monkey" on social media, with the troll tracked down and suspended by Richmond, the club he supports, for two years.
In 2017, a fan accused of racially abusing indigenous player Eddie Betts was banned. The same player also had a banana thrown at him.
Adam Goodes, one of Australia's most high-profile indigenous sportsmen, retired from Aussie Rules in 2015 after he was subject to repeated booing.
Many believed it was racially motivated and stemmed from him taking exception to being called an "ape" by a spectator in 2013.
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