- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 8 March 2023, 7:46AM
The chief executive of Sky Stadium is calling for harsher penalties for pitch invaders after 13 people ran onto the field at the weekend.
Shane Harmon told NZME there is “not enough disincentive” for patrons to enter the field of play.
“In New Zealand there are strong laws in place under the Major Events Management Act but they don’t apply to business as usual sports,” he said.
He said although police can arrest pitch invaders and the stadium can trespass them it’s clearly not a harsh enough penalty to dissuade people.
“The major event management act provides up to $5000 in fines and three months imprisonment – I don’t think that’s ever been enforced up to the maximum.
“However, we feel if we introduced that that would be a significant deterrent and we could go from there.”
A Police spokesperson confirmed 13 people were arrested for disorderly behavior and given formal warnings after invading the pitch on Friday night during the Warriors defeat of the Newcastle Knights.
Footage circulating on social media showed five men jumping from the stands to run on to the field of play at different points over the course of the event - though other members of the public reported up to a dozen total invaders. All were eventually detained by security staff.
Harmon said as event organisers, the main focus is getting people to and from the stadium safely and that “everything else is a bonus”.
“That applies to staff as well. Their job is to protect players, protect fans. They deserve to be protected as well.”
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