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Melbourne Demons found not guilty of tanking

Posted by: 3AW News | 19 February, 2013 - 2:33 PM

The AFL has found there was not a directive for the Melbourne Demons to lose any matches in 2009.

However, the club's former footy operations manager Chris Connolly has been banned from football for 11 months and former senior coach Dean Bailey has been suspended from coaching for 16 rounds.

PLAY: Caroline Wilson says the AFL needed scapegoats and Chris Connolly and Dean Bailey were the obvious choices


The Melbourne Football Club has also been fined $500,000.

Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan told a press conference both Connolly and Bailey "had acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the interests of the AFL".

"The evidence suggests, and Dean Bailey agreed .... he made decisions to ultimately appease Chris (Connolly). He made decisions to rest players," Mr McLachlan said.

"All three parties, Melbourne FC, Dean Bailey and Chris Connolly have accepted the sanctions."

Speaking on Sports Today, McLachlan said Connolly instructed his coaches to 'think about the future of the club and not win games to secure draft picks.'

PLAY: Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan on 3AW Sports Today

McLachlan said it was then proven Dean Bailey felt like his job was under threat if he didn't obey Connelly, so he made 'some selection decisions and player position decisions' to ensure they'll lose.

Asked how that doesn't qualify as tanking, McLachlan said there was no evidence on match days the club intentionally lost.

"Tanking is defined as not trying to win on match day and I could not find any merit to that."

Meanwhile, on his 3AW Drive show, Tom Elliott labelled the ruling 'absolute rubbish.'

"If there was no tanking, why has the Melbourne Football Club been fined $500,000?  The AFL has its head in the sand and yet again it doesn't want its good name besmirched."

Elliott also pointed out the Adelaide Crows, not the Melbourne Demons, will bear the brunt of Dean Bailey's suspension considering he's now their strategy and innovation coach.

3AW Football commentator Stephen Quartermain told Tom Elliott the punishments were 'mystifying.'

PLAY: Stephen Quartermain with Tom Elliott

"The AFL had to seem like it was doing something about tanking, but Gil McLachlan has cut a fantastic deal with the Melbourne Football Club.

"But at least the Jim Stynes legacy remains untouched in all this and that was extremely important for the AFL.

"To sum it up, the AFL's decision is a bit confusing and mystifying, but the issue has now gone away, which is what the AFL wanted.  We can now cast it aside and get on with playing Football," Quartermain said.

AFL full statement: Melbourne tanking penalties

THE AFL has concluded matters regarding its investigation into the on-field performance of the Melbourne Football Club during the 2009 premiership season.

AFL acting general manager of football operations, Gillon McLachlan, said the AFL had conducted 58 interviews as part of its investigation, comprising both current and former players, coaches, administrators and officials of the club. The AFL also undertook forensic analysis of Melbourne Football Club's computers, files and email system.

After considering the evidence gathered by the AFL, Mr McLachlan said the AFL had found as follows:

·         There had not been a directive from the Melbourne FC board or executive management that the team should deliberately lose matches in any game during the 2009 premiership season.
·         The Melbourne FC, its coach and team did not set out to deliberately lose in any matches during the 2009 premiership season.
·         Melbourne FC then-general manager of football operations Chris Connolly during the 2009 premiership season had acted in a manner concerning pre-game planning, comprising comments to a football department meeting, which was prejudicial to the interests of the AFL.
·         Melbourne FC then-senior coach Dean Bailey, having regard to Mr Connolly's comments, during the 2009 premiership season had acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the interests of the AFL.

Mr McLachlan said the basis of the AFL's findings was the testimony received from current and former players, coaches, administrators and officials.

Mr McLachlan said Mr Connolly and Mr Bailey had agreed to accept the charge and the AFL, after formal sign-off from the AFL Commission, took into account the levels of co-operation from and remorse of each of the charged parties. He said the AFL Commission had approved the following sanctions under AFL Player Rule 1.6:

·         Chris Connolly is to be suspended until February 1, 2014 from occupying any office or performing any function (including attending matches or training sessions) for or on behalf of any club, such suspension to commence Monday, February 25, 2013.

·         Dean Bailey is to be suspended from coaching  for the first 16 rounds of the 2013 premiership season. During this time, he will not be permitted to have any match-day role or any role working with players but he may remain employed by the Adelaide FC if it so chooses.

The Melbourne Football Club accepts that in relation to this matter it must bear ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the club personnel in key roles, and has accordingly agreed with the AFL to a fine of $500,000.

"The proper operation of the Total Player Payments (TPP) provisions and draft are the fundamental planks to the continued development and ongoing success of the AFL," Mr McLachlan said.

"The Draft rules allow for the distribution of elite talent among the AFL to clubs and helps to ensure the long-term future of the 18 AFL clubs. However the rules absolutely do not provide for teams to manipulate the draft or TPP provisions for their own ends.

"The AFL will continue to actively police the competition’s key structural planks and there can be no room in our game to disregard or breach our rules."
Mr McLachlan said if any person came forward with new evidence involving clubs acting in a manner which was prejudicial to the interests of the AFL, the AFL’s integrity department would examine any such evidence.

Mr McLachlan said the AFL had also looked at its player rules to ensure that no club, player, official, coach or administrator would have a reason to contemplate such actions in the future.

"The AFL has strong faith in our clubs, players, coaches and officials that they give of their best at every opportunity, and this is obviously the expectation of their fans," Mr McLachlan said.

"At the start of the 2012 season, the AFL announced the alteration of the rules to make it harder to qualify for a Priority Selection for poor performance.

"In addition to that previous action, the AFL Commission has already announced that the AFL integrity unit will be further resourced, while it will be recommended that clubs establish their own internal processes around Integrity.

"The AFL Commission has also announced the introduction of a Whistleblower Policy, and this will include any matters that may relate to team performance, separate to information about performance enhancing drugs.

"In addition, the AFL will continue to annually review the operation of the rules relating to the national draft," he said.


Blog comments Your Say

  • I've had enough of footy, that clown Demetriou had ruined the sport with his lies & constant spin. Its sterile, contrived & lacking any passion. Everyone virtually plays in the one stadium, there is no soul. Give me the old days of play each other twice a year home & away footy any day. I went to the Soccer last week & it was unbelievable, the passion in the crowd was off the charts, I saw none of the violence, not that it didn't happen but it wasn't the war zone AW would have you believe. Demetriou won't be getting another cent off me, it's Soccer in the summer local footy in the winter for me from now.

    Macca Wednesday 20 February, 2013 - 5:49 PM
  • To find Melbourne guilty meant "many" other clubs would go the same way...esp CARLTANK !!!

    tb Wednesday 20 February, 2013 - 1:11 PM
  • What a joke this is.

    IAN Wednesday 20 February, 2013 - 11:14 AM
  • After this whitewash and the race fixing in Victoria result I'd say the royal commission into the Catholic Church is in a lot of trouble. :p

    mylene Wednesday 20 February, 2013 - 10:48 AM
  • AFL's Demetrio and McLachlan would make great politicians. Full of lies and living in denial. What a joke they are. Connolly, Bailey and Melbourne FC should take them to court as they have been found guilty of something that never happened, supposedly. The Essendon saga will also be watered down and these fools running the competition will deny that there has ever been drug use in the AFL and that Lance Armstrong is clean.

    Peter Wednesday 20 February, 2013 - 9:57 AM
  • As a keen AFL football supporter I would like to see dim whit Andrew suspended for life. Andrew is completely blinded by everything that is destroying this great game and only wants to concentrate on getting people through the gates so that his fat pockets can keep holding the cash flow. I AM SURE DIM WHIT ANDREW HAS MORE MONEY THAN SOME OF THE AFL MELBOURNE CLUBS ALONE!

    Jillian Wednesday 20 February, 2013 - 8:29 AM

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