2022-05-12 01:02:00

A community rugby league game in NSW was been suspended after police uncovered threats of gang violence at matches.

On Thursday, a statement from the general manager of the Penrith and District Junior Rugby League (PDJRL) Nathan Mairleitner, advised members that NSW Police could cancel matches where they discover evidence of potential behaviour, including group chats where threats involving weapons at games are made, that could compromise the safety of players, staff or spectators.

This comes as an adult match between the Londonderry and St Pats teams was cancelled last weekend.

NSW Police said they will be cancelling matches if they uncover evidence which suggests people’s safety could be compromised. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images.Source: Getty Images

“Please note: The NSW Police Force will be cancelling matches across the state from this weekend where intelligence suggests everyone’s safety is compromised,” the statement read.

“(Police) want clubs to understand when clubs know about conversations or group chats in and around playing groups, they must report it to the PDJRL and police.

“As we all can appreciate, the NSWPF, NSWRL and PDJRL will not tolerate threats of violence, intimidation or acts of violence including affray which are all serious criminal offences.”

The letter stated that names of players who have been found making threats or plans to instigate on-field violence will be identified to clubs, who will be contacted directly.

Mr Mairleitner also added players, coaches, parents and spectators “found to be involved in organising acts of violence” will be given the strongest sanction of removal from the competition.

In response to the statement, the NSW Rugby League said

Clarification from the NSWRL said that the potential acts of violence at community sporting grounds isn’t a state-wide issue but rather a “specific concern under the jurisdiction of the Riverstone Police Area Command”.

They also said it was “relating to potential issues needing to be addressed in adult Community Rugby League and not children’s football”.

“Both the Penrith DJRLC and the NSW Police are undertaking strong community initiatives as part of a number of strategies to address issues and concerns around youth at risk of drifting into a life of crime and gang violence,” a statement from the NSWRL read.

A statement from NSW Police also said they were working closely with sporting clubs and organisations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants and the community.

An open letter from Panthers Juniors said junior games would be canned amid a police investigation that found players and spectators planning to arrive at the matches armed with weapons.Source: Supplied

This announcement comes as Sydney is ravaged by a series of attacks linked to gang violence.

Most recently, top Comanchero bikie boss, Tarek Zahed and his brother Omar were attacked by a spray of bullets while leaving the gym. The assault killed Omar, while Tarek remains in an induced coma at Westmead Hospital.

Last month’s fatal stabbing at the Sydney Royal Easter Show has also been linked to suspected postcode gang wars between the rival suburbs of Doonside (2767) and Mt Druitt (2770). The horrific incident resulted in the death of 17-year-old Uati ‘Pele’ Faletolu who was stabbed in the chest while working on the Break-Dance carnival ride.

In light of the recent development, the Doonside Junior Rugby League Club – which Uati formerly played for – also shared Mr Mairleitner’s statement.

While police are yet to formally charge someone for his death, Uati’s family have previously appealed to members of the public to come forward.

“Nearly a month now and no closure on who killed my son, I am heartbroken and shattered, things in the family will never be the same again,” his mother, Janice Sauma Faletolu wrote in a statement.

“This killer needs to be found, teenagers and people that witnessed my son’s murder need to come forward, this person is a danger to the people.

“If anyone has any information, please contact police, speak to someone, my son’s killer needs to be found and we need closure.”

Uati ‘Pele’ Faletolu was killed in a stabbing incident at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Picture: TikTok/ @pelesaumafaletoluSource: Supplied

Former Penrith Panthers player Lou Zivanovic also asked people who had the intent to commit violence to stay away from the sporting field.

“All gangs should stay away from kids enjoying rugby league. There is no place for gangs in the Penrith Junior Rugby League,” he said.

“We fully support any police crackdown on gang violence at matches.

“Boys and girls, men and women, should be allowed to play the game they love in a safe environment and not have to worry about any violence.”

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Source by [graycupnews.com]

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