A 14-year-old boy has been banned from playing Australian Rules football for five years after punching an umpire, the (Adelaide) Sunday Mail reported.
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Jyrah Miller, 14, who was playing in the seniors for Encounter Bay Football Club against Mount Compass last weekend, said he deserved to be punished — but a five-year Australia-wide ban with an additional five years on probation was too long and had destroyed any chance of a future in football.
"A two-year or one-year ban would have been long enough for me to think about it, but five years has taken everything away from me," he said.
"I’m sorry for hitting him, I shouldn’t have done it," he said. "I’m shocked and upset about what’s happened and I’d do anything to play footy again."
Great Southern Football League President Gordon Tonkin said the tribunal had been left with no choice but to impose a severe penalty on Jyrah, who had received multiple yellow card warnings — where a player is sent off for five minutes — and been reported for four offenses this season alone.
"If he was a senior player he would have got life," Tonkin said.