EXCLUSIVE: Evicted A-League Dad Says He Was Not Trying To Buy Beer
Rory Carroll, the dad who was evicted from the A-League preliminary final, has given his side of the story.
Carroll was marched out of the Jubilee Oval in Sydney's south by NSW Police after police responded to an argument he had with security.
Carroll told 10 daily that the incident started when he attempted to investigate the state of the disabled toilets in the main grandstand, near to where he was seated in the outer grandstand.
He wanted to take his daughter Mia, 10, who has Down syndrome, to the toilets.
According to Carroll Mia had been able to access the ones in the grandstand all season without being impeded before security was heightened for the finals. He said he wanted to make sure they were clean and accessible, given the larger finals crowd.
"When you have a disabled child, familiarity is a good thing. They like their routines," Carroll told 10 daily in response to the question of why he couldn't use facilities located within 25 metres of where he was sitting.
"And I’m a parent."
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton said he was confident that "if a person with special needs needed to access any area of any of our grounds, that would be facilitated, both by security and police".
The Assistant Commissioner also said that "the man was trying to enter the grandstand area where there was a greater variety of beer available than there was in the outer grandstand area where he was seated".
Carroll rejects any inference that he was looking to buy a beer, telling 10 daily he was drinking a bottle of Coke.
"I brought two of my daughters and a best friend to the football on a Sunday night, a school night. I got them organised and I’d had a busy week myself.
"I take my responsibilities as a driver seriously. I had three girls with me and was not drinking. The only thing I was drinking was Coke.
"And I wasn't even halfway through it," he added.
Georges River Council, which manages the ground, issued a statement in which it said:
"Georges River Council is aware of the incident that occurred last night (12 May) during an A-League game held at Netstrata Jubilee Oval, Kogarah.
"Council would like to set the record straight after widespread media and social reports on Twitter, unfairly condemned the actions of NSW Police Officers and security guards as the reports do not reflect what occurred.
"The patron was attempting to gain forceful entry into a restricted area of the stadium which he did not have access to."
Carroll says he was "not being belligerent or anything like that", and that he would now reconsider ever going to another game of football, despite being a regular attendee and lifelong fan.
"I was pumped for the game tonight," he wrote on Twitter earlier today.
"My daughter had not stopped talking about it and got dressed in her SFC gear after she finished her game this morning. Unfortunately, that's not how our night ended. I had to console crying girls and had to put up with multiple police cars monitoring our movement as we exited the stadium."
Assistant Commissioner Walton said he had no record of any vehicles following Carroll as he drove away from the ground.
"I'm told we didn't even have vehicles circulating outside of the ground at that time," he added.
Carroll said he and his family were "surrounded by a phalanx of armed police, with officers holding their hand to gun holsters".
But Assistant Commissioner Walton said he hadn't seen any "images of police touching their guns".