FED UP: Terri Gilbert has left the Masters touch competition after none of her claims of consistent bullying and personal attacks could be substantiated at the judiciary.
FED UP: Terri Gilbert has left the Masters touch competition after none of her claims of consistent bullying and personal attacks could be substantiated at the judiciary. TAHLIA STEHBENS

Bundy female touch player steps aside after hearing

AFTER a 30-year career playing touch football, Bundaberg woman Terri Gilbert has stepped away from playing Masters.

Last month the NewsMail reported Mrs Gilbert received personal attacks during a Masters games where male opponents from a specific team targeted not only her playing ability, but her gender and authority in being a woman and "playing with the big boys".

It was the straw that broke the camel's back for Mrs Gilbert, who has represented her country in the sport.

The Bundaberg Touch Association reacted to her complaint, by sending an email to all members, reminding them about their responsibilities around fairness, respect and safety as outlined in the code of conduct and further player policies.

BTA President David Field said a judiciary hearing was held and followed due process with a decision being agreed upon.

"The alleged breaches have been investigated and no further action will be taken based on the statement provided by the complainant," Mr Field said.

"None of the claims could be substantiated during the closed forum."

As the governing body, Touch Football Australia said they did not support any type of offensive comments on the field.

"We do not condone the fact that, during a Bundaberg Touch Association game, an unidentifiable male player made a comment, "If you don't like it, go back to the Girls under 14s", directed at Terri Gilbert, a female player on the opposing team," a TFA spokesperson said.

"The closed forum disciplinary hearing took place, and the three-person judicial tribunal decided no further action will be taken on the basis that the statement was made once and, as such, does not qualify as harassment or bullying, which is regarded as repeated behaviour.

"Since it could not be substantiated who made the statement... the investigation is now closed."

TFA have offered to provide Mrs Gilbert with ongoing support in the form of counselling from an external service should she want it but have not yet received a response.

"Since the disciplinary hearing was a closed forum, the details of the hearing are confidential," the spokesperson said.

"This is an important reminder that all participants within the touch football community have a responsibility to ensure that other participants feel welcome, and that their behaviour does not cause offence."

Mrs Gilbert has since withdrawn from the Masters competition in response to the judiciary decision and will continue to play solely in the women's league.

"I've decided that at this stage in my life it's better suited for me to concentrate on playing with the girls and enjoy that competition," she said.



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