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      Pitch Invasion Penalties At NSW Sporting Venues

      Posted By , on June 19, 2019

      Pitch Invasion v Streaking

      When someone talks about pitch invasion most people think about streakers. Those that have got their kit off and ran naked onto the field. Wati Holmwood famously streaked across the field at the State of Origin in 2011 and again in 2013. He was fined and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. However, you don’t need to strip naked to face hefty fines and lengthy banning notices.

      The majority of major sporting venues in NSW are covered by specific legislation. These laws set out the penalties for various offences at each venue – including pitch invasion. At each venue you’ll face fines of up to $5500 for any unauthorised entry to the field of play. At some venues security can exercise powers normally only available to police. Not only can they lawfully demand the name and address of anyone running onto the field. They can also photograph pitch invaders for identification purposes.

      ANZ Stadium

      ANZ Stadium is covered by the Sydney Olympic Park Authority Regulations. Run onto the playing field here and the maximum penalty is $5500. Although they can issue a penalty notice for $500. Similar to most venues is that you’ll receive a 12 month banning notice. If you breach that banning notice the penalty is a further $2200.

      Interestingly the legislation covers all sporting grounds at Sydney Olympic Park. That means that the pitch invasion penalties also apply at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Showground, Spotless Arena, and even the archery venue. Not that you’d probably want to run onto that field mid competition.

      The legislation also grants certain powers to “authorised officers” such as security, which are normally powers only Police have. An authorised officer can demand your name and address. A penalty of $2200 applies for refusing or providing false details. They can also take your photograph for their records to ensure you don’t try to re-enter the venue.

      Sydney Cricket Ground & Allianz Stadium

      The SCG & SFS (also known as Allianz Stadium) are covered by the Sydney Cricket and Sportsground Act (NSW) 1978. Pitch invasion will also set you back up to $5500 at either of these venues however a banning notice is for up to two years. If you re-enter during the period of the banning notice the penalty is a little cheaper at $1100 however you can receive a lifetime ban from the venue.

      Security at the SCG and SFS can also demand your name and address however penalties for refusing or providing incorrect details are slightly less than at Allianz Stadium. Penalties are $1100 and there is no power to take identification photos.

      Other Sports Stadiums

      In the lead up to the 2012 Rugby World Cup, legislation passed bringing a number of stadiums under the control of Venues NSW. This included stadiums at Parramatta (Bankwest Stadium), Wollongong (WIN Stadium), Newcastle (McDonald Jones Stadium), and the Central Coast Stadium. It also standardised the penalties for pitch invasion across all of these venues.

      John Watkins, Minister for Police at the time said that it was hoped the laws would, “act as a significant deterrent for those who may consider disrupting games by running onto the field at these grounds”. The Sporting Venues (Invasions) Act provides $5500 penalties for pitch invasion and 12 month bans. To deter banned pitch invaders from re-entering the venue the penalty for breaching the banning notice is $5500 and a lifetime ban.

      Security at these venues can also demand your name and address. Failing to provide it or providing false details can cost you $2200. And as at ANZ Stadium an authorised officer at one of these venues can also take your photograph.

      Pitch invasion at the races?

      Interestingly, this legislation also covers racecourses. Section 4A creates an offence of “racecourse invasions” with the penalty also being $5500. The term “racecourse” is defined to include any racecourse licensed under the Betting and Racing Act 1998. It may seem obvious that you shouldn’t run on the field at Randwick or Rosehill but the same penalties would apply to much smaller regional racecourses which are licensed.

      Worse still if you get your gear off

      While the penalties for pitch invasion are quite steep, the penalties if you strip off and streak across the field are worse. A conviction for wilful and obscene exposure can result in an $1100 fine and six months imprisonment. In most cases police would lay this charge in addition to pitch invasion, so a naked dash across your favourite sporting field could end up costing you over $6000.

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