COLLINGWOOD is the latest AFL club to be fined for breaches of the competition’s coronavirus protocols.
The Magpies self-reported a breach by coach Nathan Buckley and assistant Brenton Sanderson, who played a tennis match with two people outside the club’s travel “bubble”.
The club has been fined $50,000, with $25,000 suspended.
The penalty comes a day after Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Richmond and Carlton were hit with similar heavy fines for breaches.
Buckley and Sanderson were given permission to play tennis outside of the hub against each other on Wednesday and Friday but breached AFL protocols by playing with two members of the public.
They did not breach any West Australian government protocols.
“This is a very disappointing reminder of how vigilant we must be to keep the season alive,” Collingwood chief executive Mark Anderson said.
“Our game has been granted the right to continue to play by governments around the country.
“In exchange for that right, we simply must do all that we can to protect the health of our players, staff and the communities in which we are living and playing.
“Our football program has been educated and constantly reminded of its responsibilities and as senior leaders of our program both accept that this breach should not have occurred.
“As a club, we apologise, vow to be better and fully accept the penalty.”
Buckley and Sanderson have offered to personally pay the $25,000 portion of Collingwood’s fine that was not suspended.
“At the time, we believed we had followed and adhered to the protocols as required but after returning to the hotel and re-addressing the circumstances it became crystal clear that we had breached the current AFL protocols,” Buckley said.
“The competition is asking its constituents to make great sacrifices for the show to go on and we have all accepted these for the long-term future of the industry and the privilege of participating within it.”
The offer from Buckley and Sanderson comes after club president Eddie McGuire on Friday called for individuals to be held personally responsible for their breaches, which put the AFL season at risk.
A failure to complete the season would cost the competition crucial broadcast revenue amid the game’s biggest-ever financial crisis.
“I think the people who breach the protocols should be fined personally, to be honest,” McGuire told Fox Footy.
“You can get to the clubs in due course, I think the AFL’s set it out, but I think it’s got to be a personal fine.”
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said Collingwood’s breach should serve as a reminder to clubs, players and officials.
“(We) need to be extremely diligent when undertaking activity outside of match day and training,” Dillon said.
“Everyone has a role to play in keeping the community safe during these times.”
(C) AAP 2020