Inquiry urged into Wade role

THE new head of South Launceston Football Club has called on the AFL to conduct a full investigation into the code's Tasmanian administrator's involvement in an alleged salary cap breach after evidence of cash payments to players emerged this week.

A parliamentary committee examining AFL Tasmania's use of taxpayer money has heard evidence of player contracts that would have put the reigning premier $40,000 over the league's salary cap if paid in full.

Emails between AFL chief executive Scott Wade and former South Launceston officials were also provided to the committee in which Mr Wade referred to a deal for AFL Tasmania to provide money intended to go to out-of- pocket players.

In one email, Mr Wade described the payment as "in cash" which would be considered "donations to the players for their contributions to the SLFC".

New president Rod Patterson, who took over in October, presented the evidence to the committee last month confidentially, but the committee resolved yesterday to release the full transcript of his evidence, in line with Mr Patterson's wishes. The decision follows AFL Tasmania's failure to act on the revelations.

Mr Patterson was not at the October meeting when the player payments were discussed and said that he was told at a later meeting with Mr Wade that if it was spoken about publicly it would be denied.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Mr Wade denied making that comment.

AFL Tasmania chairman Dominic Baker also fronted the committee and said an internal investigation into the matters raised by Mr Patterson's evidence had been conducted and found no cause for concern.

Mr Baker said administrators would never have let South Launceston breach the salary cap, but it became a non-issue because it was clear in July that the club had run out of money to pay its players.

South Launceston won the Tasmanian State League premiership this year but now has no licence and will play in the Northern Tasmanian Football Association next year.

Mr Baker said AFL Tasmania made a $9000 "development grant" to Prospect Hawks Junior Club, which was designed to ensure former South Launceston players joined the new TSL club, launched as the Western Storm.

AFL Tasmania did not contact Mr Patterson during its internal investigation.

Mr Patterson said the AFL should step in and conduct a full audit of the club's books to allow the club to rebuild.

"What we want is the past to be investigated, dealt with, so we can concentrate on the long-term future," Mr Patterson said.

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