Italo Stars impose own justice on player dissent

ITALO Stars's self-imposed disciplinary code means striker Brenton Mumford will miss their vital home clash with Ballina tomorrow in Far North Coast Premier League soccer.

After incurring a yellow card for dissent in their 2-0 loss to Rovers last weekend, Mumford will spend a mandatory two weeks in reserves.

Since the debacle of the grand final last year, Stars have installed a leadership group of senior players to maintain discipline within the squad, and eliminating dissent to refs is top of their list.

"We're serious about the issue of dissent and while Brenton has been one of our better players and we'd love to have him out there against Ballina, we just won't tolerate it," coach John Essex said.

Stars' stance is understandable.

The club's image suffered after the 2007 premier division grand final against Rovers when team members and supporters in the crowd abused referee Luke Mackney.

Mackney was called a 'f...... cheat', had beer sprayed on him and a beer can thrown at him as he walked from the ground following Stars' defeat.

The 23-year-old referee had earlier red-carded two Stars players and awarded Rovers a penalty which resulted in a goal.

After numerous judiciary proceedings, Stars started this season on minus nine points on the premiership ladder and were banned from hosting three home games.

One crowd member was banned from the game for life while another is serving a five-year suspension.

One player had a 10-year playing ban reduced to a two-year penalty with a four-year suspended sentence on top of that, while another is serving a 12-month suspension after initially being given a five-year ban.

The self-imposed disciplinary code is just one of a number of initiatives the club has set up. To host games Stars now have three ground managers, instead of two.

The club has also had information nights with referees to clear the air and clarify rulings.

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