June 8, 2017 - Incidents involving spectators disrupting sporting events can be traced back to February 7, 1879 during the Sydney Riot of 1879, where up to 2,000 fans invaded the pitch and disrupted play after an umpiring dispute broke out. Recent high profile media events involving patrons throwing items onto the field of play at both MLB and NHL games has prompted the ORFA to remind members of the importance of having clear and up to date policy on such behavior as being unacceptable.
Given that many facilities now have security cameras that can capture such behavior, it is important to assist authorities in dealing with such incidents with clear and supporting policy. As much as these high profile cases may be distant from a typical community recreation facility, should similar events occur that result in litigation, the courts will most likely view these incidents as warning signs to all similar operations. With an expectation that action should have been taken by the owner to reduce the likelihood of the event being repeated.
The ORFA further reminds members to review and reconfirm no less than annually that all contracts, policies, procedures and signage remains current and up to date.