The AFL has handed out heavy sanctions to four clubs for breaches of the league’s COVID-19 return-to-play protocols during the past week.
- Hawthorn, Carlton, North Melbourne and Richmond were all fined by the AFL
- The Hawks’ breach relates to an incident involving non-selected players during the club’s recent match against the Swans
- The Blues, Kangaroos and Tigers were sanctioned for incidents while based in their Queensland hubs
Hawthorn was fined $50,000, with half of that amount suspended for the remainder of the season.
Carlton, North Melbourne and Richmond received $45,000 fines, $25,000 of which is suspended.
The Hawks’ breach of the protocols occurred in Sydney last weekend, while Richmond, Carlton and North Melbourne were sanctioned for incidents while based in their Queensland hubs.
AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillion said there was no excuse for clubs committing protocol breaches.
“The protocols are in place to not only protect players, officials, staff, and now their visiting families, but also the wider community in which we have been given the opportunity to train and play,” he said in an AFL statement.
“We all have to modify our behaviours in order for the competition to continue in a safe manner.”
The Hawks were sanctioned for an incident that occurred during last Saturday’s match against Sydney at the SCG where non-selected players entered a public area of the stadium.
“We are incredibly disappointed that we have breached the AFL protocols,” Hawks president Jeff Kennett said.
“We expect much more of our players and the club, and we take full responsibility for the breach in question and accept the sanction which has been handed down.
“On behalf of the club, I would like to apologise to the AFL, all clubs, our Hawthorn members and the broader community for stepping outside of the protocols, putting the game at risk and bringing our club into disrepute.”
The Blues also accepted their penalty, which related to a member of their travelling group seeking assistance with childcare duties.
“We fully understand the seriousness of this breach and acknowledge that an opportunity to seek clarification of these rules was missed, which has resulted in this breach,” Blues chief executive Cain Liddle said.
“For context purposes, the period in which this breach occurred was after the quarantine timeframe had concluded. This individual had sought support with childcare, which is approved within the AFL protocols.
“However, the activity undertaken by those caring for children is where we have let ourselves down, given this is where the opportunity to seek clarity should have been taken.
“In saying that, we acknowledge our role in ensuring all parties are fully compliant and aware of the measures that are in place.”
The Tigers and Kangaroos also announced they had accepted their penalties.