The outcomes of the Kurt Tippett contract investigation have been anounced by the AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick at AFL House, after a marathon hearing.
Adelaide has been fined $300,000 and prohibited from the first two rounds of the 2013 draft and from gaining father-son picks at that draft. The club can use first or second round picks if they are obtained by a trade.
Steven Trigg has been fined $50,000 and given 12 months suspension, meaning he cannot attend games or training or have any dealings with an AFL club.
John Reid has been given a similar 12 months suspension.
Phil Harper received a two months sentence on the same terms.
Kurt Tippett was suspended from the pre-season competition and from 11 AFL matches, with another 11 matches suspended for five years.
The Crows had been predicted to be penalised more heavily, with draft picks at multiple drafts and a bigger fine expected. Fitzpatrick noted the full co-operation of the club in the investigation, its previously unblemished record, its guilty plea, the fact it voluntarily gave up its first two draft picks at the recently completed national draft, and its expressions of remorse as factors taken into account when considering the penalties.
Fitzpatrick labelled Adelaide's actions in circumventing the league's draft and salary cap rules as "very disappointing" and promised that any such breaches will be penalised.
Kurt Tippett. Photo: Paul Rovere
"I want to send a message to all 18 clubs and all supporters around the country so that everybody understands our position," he said.
"Any club engaging in conduct prejudicial to the draft or a scheme involving payments to players in contravention of our rules will be penalised."
Fitzpatrick said the commission took into account that Tippett could yet join reigning premier Sydney on a $3.55 million, four-year contract, but could not impose sanctions on something that was yet to happen.
AFL commissioner Bill Kelty arrives for the Tippett hearing. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
"Our view was to look at the sanction relating to the offence, and beyond that we weren’t prepared to intervene in other mechanisms. So if that’s what happens, that’s what happens," he said.
Demetriou spoke glowingly of Trigg, saying he had made a stupid mistake but he would be welcomed back into the industry after serving his punishment. he went so far as to urge Crows supporters to forgive Trigg and his fellow officials, who had served Adelaide so well for so long. He asked for the football world to grant the offenders a second chance.
Demetriou said that the role of Tippett's manager Peter Blucher in the affair should be investigated by the AFL Player's Association.
AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson arrives at AFL House. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
After the league officials spoke, Trigg read a statement in which he said the club had never exceeded its salary cap. He said his penalty was "extraordinarily tough".
"The club has paid a very high price for an error of judgement."
He said he wants to retain involved in football and at Adelaide.
He said the saga had been a "setback" for Adelaide, but he said the club had put measures in place that would enable it to "galvanise his club" for the future.
Club chairman Rob Chapman said he was pleased the matter had been "resolved and concluded". He said "the integrity of the game was paramount" and the Crows accepted the AFL's sanctions.
"None of us can tolerate any breaches of the rules, unintended or not..." he said.
Chapman insited that the breaches were not systemic and the club had made a disclosure voluntarily once it realised its wrongdoing.
He said Adelaide was "on the road to a strong and successful future."
A club statement read: "The board and management of the Adelaide Football Club apologise to everyone associated with the club - staff, players, members, sponsors and supporters."
Kurt Tippett also released a statement about the saga.
"I trusted the Adelaide Football Club and for the duration of my contract I did my utmost for the Club on and off the field. It is bitterly disappointing, then, to learn that my trust and best endeavours have been to my substantial detriment. "Only during the recent AFL trade period did I learn that some terms in the Adelaide offer may have contravened AFL rules, and since that point I and all parties associated with me have co-operated fully with the AFL in its investigations. "I have nothing to hide and have only refrained from media comment in recent weeks on legal advice and out of respect for the AFL investigation process. Through my legal representative I asked for an open hearing today in the hope that the truth would be revealed. Tippett said he pleaded guilty to the two charges "on advice without any admission of liability" despite being assured there were valid defences available to him.
Sydney released a statement reaffirming their desire to select Tippett in the upcoming pre-season draft.
"Although today’s decision is obviously a disappointing setback for Kurt, we have always seen Kurt as a long-term player," Swans general manager of football Dean Moore said.
"We will go to the pre-season draft with the intention of selecting him if he’s available at our pick."
Fitzpatrick said the commission felt Adelaide’s breaches were not systematic and that the sanctions imposed on Trigg were appropriate.
"I don’t think he was happy about it, but I think he felt it was reasonable," he said.
"There is always enormous pressures on chief executives and football managers. That’s always been true but the vast majority of them obey the rules. Clearly Steven would like to have his time again on this one. There are occasions when the pressure seems overwhelming but the rules and the rules and they have to be obeyed."
The AFLPA released a statement expressing concern at the severity of the penalty handed to Tippett, and confirming it will investigate the involvement of his Accredited Agent, Peter Blucher, in relation to whether his conduct was in breach of the Regulations Governing Accredited Agents.
"The AFLPA Agent Accreditation Board now has the responsibility to investigate the role of the agent involved. The Agent Accreditation Board will aim to deal with the matter in a timely manner, whilst following due process and providing the agent natural justice," said Prendergast.
The marathon AFL Commission hearing into the saga ended after nearly nine hours, with Adelaide officials and Tippett leaving AFL house just before 5pm on Friday afternoon.
Tippett, the Crows, their chief executive Steven Trigg, football operations manager Phil Harper and his predecessor John Reid were facing a total of 11 charges.
These all involve draft tampering and salary cap breaches and stem from the three-year deal that Tippett signed with Adelaide in 2009.
Tippett has nominated for the December 11 pre-season draft and depending on what the commission decides on his two charges, he is most likely to join Sydney.
The hearing started at 8am (AEDT).
There was speculation that all parties would plead guilty to their charges in the hope of lighter penalties and there was no indication why the hearing was taking so long.
Adelaide gave up their first two picks last week in the national draft last week, hoping the commission would take that into account when deciding on a penalty.
Reid no longer works directly in the AFL, while the futures of Trigg and Harper at Adelaide were dependant on the commission's verdicts.
Tippett has officially left Adelaide and hopes to join Sydney through the December 11 pre-season draft.
It is understood the Swans are prepared to offer Tippett a four-year deal, with more than $3.5 million.
Prominent Melbourne QC David Galbally represented Tippett at the hearing.
Kurt Tippett, 25, has played 104 games for Adelaide since 2008, with no less than 18 in any of his five completed seasons.
At 202cm, he is useful as a ruckman and hard to stop when in form as a marking target up forward. A Queenslander who didn't grow up playing Aussie Rules, Tippett has shown great potential but agruably not yet reached the heights expected of his physique and talent.
He has kicked 188 goals, 39 of them this season. In 2009, in just his second season, he booted a mouth-watering 55 goals. At the end of 2009, he was homesick for the Gold Coast, and appeared a crucial key position signing for the Crows' forward line. The club went to extraordinary lengths to ensure his future lay in Adelaide.
As it turned out, they went too far, and compromised that future with the reckless deals they struck in order to keep Tippett in Adelaide.
After two less imposing seasons, Tippett's shock revelation that he wanted to leave Adelaide for reigning premier Sydney, not Gold Coast, led to the revelation the Crows had breached AFL rules when contracting him in 2009.
with Adam Cooper and AAP