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Five AFL clubs hit with fines for breaching Covid-19 protocols

Five AFL clubs hit with fines for breaching Covid-19 protocols

Protocols included not testing on way to the club, not providing a result in time, and even presenting a false result.

Five Aussie rules clubs have been fined by the AFL for Covid-19 testing breaches that included falsifying rapid tests. 

7News reported that the Swans, Collingwood, Richmond, Brisbane, and St Kilda had all been sanctioned by the league for failing to comply with Covid protocols.

Breaches included players and coaches failing to do rapid antigen tests on their way into the club, not uploading an image of the result within the time period, and even uploading a false image of a RAT result that had been undertaken by someone else or been an old result.

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The Sydney Swans copped the largest fine of $100,000, with half of that penalty to be included in next season’s soft cap.

The AFL had recently increased the soft cap by $750,000 over the next two years to allow for clubs to increase spending on staff such as coaches, list management, and fitness and medical teams.

Collingwood was hit with a $50,000 sanction ($25,000 suspended), Richmond was issued a $25,000 fine ($12,500 suspended), whilst Brisbane and St Kilda were also fined $25,000, however, the entirety of the fine was suspended.

The AFL’s general counsel Andrew Dillion reiterated that no club had a competitive advantage as a result of the breaches.

The Canadian Press / Alamy

He said in a statement on Tuesday (August 16) night: “Across the last two and a half years our game and our industry has survived because we have collectively led the way in being disciplined and respecting the threat the pandemic presented, which in turn protected the health and safety of our people – our clubs, our players, coaches and officials, our staff and – most importantly – our families, friends, workmates and the wider community.

“We established a framework in 2022 for clubs to take more responsibility in managing their own people in relation to regular Covid testing. While 13 of the clubs complied with the requirements, the five clubs failed to comply as required.

"The sanctions they have been handed reflect the seriousness that we take in relation to the health and safety of players, staff and the wider community."

The sanctions came after the league conducted a compliance audit. 

Sydney Swans CEO Tom Harley released a statement, saying: “On behalf of our club, I wish to apologise to the AFL and broader community. It is disappointing that our club has not fully adhered to these important AFL protocols.

“This behaviour falls well short of the standards we expect, and we have ensured the importance of this process is now well understood and complied with across the entire football club.”

The AFL took into account the number of instances of non-compliance, previous breaches, and the time period of breaches when deciding on the financial penalties.

Featured Image Credit: Peter Griffin / Alamy. Richard Harding / Alamy.

Topics: Australia, Australia Afl, Aussie Rules Football