Adelaide Oval box office staff were told ‘not to sell tickets to any more Aboriginal people’ at a NAIDOC week AFL game last year.
Douglas Smith

29 Mar 2019 - 3:54 PM  UPDATED 29 Mar 2019 - 3:55 PM

A former staff member who worked for McArthur Recruitment and Ticketek last year at Adelaide Oval has told the ABC that a box office supervisor gave an order to stop selling tickets specifically to Aboriginal people at a NAIDOC week AFL game between Adelaide and Geelong. 

The whistleblower, who quit the next day, said her supervisor gave a directive to all ticket-sellers to lie to Aboriginal patrons for over an hour, telling them the game was sold out when it was not.

"She turned around and told everyone in the box office we'd been told not to sell tickets to any more Aboriginal people," she said.

A spokesperson from McArthur Recruitment, the organisation who provides staff to box offices managed by Ticketek, confirmed that the directive had been given by the supervisor, who was suspended for two weeks after the  incident.  

McArthur Recruitment told NITV News that the supervisor was stood down while the incident was being internally investigated, but still worked for them. 

The company claimed the supervisor was acting under "clear instruction" from police and security

“We understand police and an Adelaide Oval security guard asked a McArthur supervisor at a Ticketek box office not to sell tickets to certain people because they were intoxicated,” a company spokesperson said.

Adelaide Oval General Manager of Operations, Darren Chandler told NITV News that security teams became concerned with a "group of individuals" who had been refused entry to the stadium or would have been refused entry if they had tried". 

Mr Chandler said South Australian Police went to the eastern ticket box and told staff to refuse to sell tickets to that particular group of people who were Indigenous.  

"Unfortunately what happened is that the staff within the ticket box who are not Adelaide Oval staff, interpreted that as, what we understand afterwards, was, 'don't sell tickets to Aboriginal people'," he said. 

Mr Chandler said Adelaide Oval management condemn discrimination in any form and made their position clear to McArthur Management and Ticketek.

Remote communities travel two days to attend the event each year 

The incident took place during an annual curtain-raiser game between the Maralinga and APY Lands, both remote communities who travel at least two days to get to the event.  

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The annual game is the biggest date on the calendar for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara people.

Jeremy Lebois, a Kokatha man and traditional owner of the Maralinga lands told NITV News he was unaware that Aboriginal people were being deliberately refused entry on the night, but knew something wasn't right.  

“I did see a lot of Anangu walking around outside but I didn’t know it was because of that,” he said.

Mr Lebois said it was upsetting to know Aboriginal people who've travelled hundreds of kilometres to watch a football game were refused entry because of the colour of their skin. 

"These people don’t get to see those things. They don’t need to go down there and get discriminated against.

"This game is a big thing for desert people.

"Non-aboriginal people need to open up and step outside their square box and understand Anangu people and Anangu culture," he said. 

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