A country Victoria football player was ordered off the field by an umpire because he sported a “dangerous” mowhawk hairstyle.
In a regional-first ruling, Simpson midfielder Nathan Van Someren was given his marching orders midway through the third quarter of his team’s game against Otway Districts in the Colac and District Football League.
Van Someren said the umpire never even stopped to check his hair was a danger.
He said his hair was soft and springy and had been maintained by his hairdresser girlfriend for about five years.
“If he had run his hand over my hair he would have realised it wasn’t going to cause anyone an injury,” he said.
“I just reckon he should have taken more time to assess the situation.”
Simpson coach Chris Walsh said the Tigers would seek an explanation from the Colac District Football Umpires Association about the decision.
The player said he used a soft cream gel to style his mohawk and there was no way it could affect other players.
He said the umpire claimed the spikes had the to potential to poke an eye out.
Van Someren said people with long hair and ponytails would be a greater danger on the field, and that he worried about the precedent the umpire was setting.
“Can someone with long hair still play? Their pony tail might hit someone in the face,” he warned.
“Do you look at all that and say you might have to cut your hair a bit shorter?”
The footballer, Van Someren, who has played with his outlandish hairdo with Simpson for three years, said he couldn’t believe it when umpire Don Wheadon showed him a yellow card.
“We all thought that he was taking the mickey out of me,” he said.
“A few umpires have made jokes about my hair before, so I didn’t think any more of it.
“I played a bit in the first and second quarters and then I was yellow carded. I’m not sure why the umpire made the decision when he did.”
The 25-year-old said he would not shave his head, despite the bizarre ruling.
Co-coaches Chris and Leigh Walsh were left fuming with the decision.
Simpson went on to win the game by 34 points.