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Kevin Muscat: poacher turned gamekeeper

Monday’s Guardian carried an interesting blog on the appointment by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) of Kevin Muscat to front a campaign against football violence.

Muscat, who in a professional career spanning 19 years from 1992 to 2011, received 123 yellow cards and 12 red cards, is being employed by the FFA in conjunction with the Victorian police and both Melbourne clubs, to promote a family friendly version of the A League.

Victorian police commander Rick Nugent said in a statement: “What we’re doing is collectively standing up against violence … we’re going to do whatever we can to ensure we provide a safe environment for supporters, families and kids who come along to watch sport.”

Sniffer dogs will be used to search for flares, CCTV will be monitored to track known offenders, and rogue supporter groups targeted by clubs in an unprecedented crackdown on Victorian hooligans. Anyone found to be drunk, disorderly or behaving in an anti-social manner faces an on-the-spot fine of $722. They may also be ejected from the ground.

But, as the Guardian blog notes, the authorities are addressing a problem that largely does not exist. Football in Australia is pretty much trouble free.

Naturally, given his reputation, it is the appointment of Muscat that has attracted most attention.

“We love the fact that the atmosphere at football games is unrivalled across any other sport and we certainly encourage passionate support in the stands,” he said.

“However, we don’t want a small minority to ruin the experience for others.”

Here’s a reminder of Muscat in his playing days, ruining the experience for others.