The Adelaide Crows have been fined $50,000 for breaching the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols by not wearing face masks properly on a commercial flight from Sydney to Adelaide last weekend.
- Players and staff were found to not have “appropriately” worn masks on a flight
- Fellow passengers on the flight raised concerns, prompting club and league investigations
- The team is scheduled to play against Collingwood on Saturday
The AFL and the club investigated the incident after other passengers on the plane raised concerns.
The fine has been handed down ahead of the team’s controversial home game against Collingwood, for which the latter club has been allowed to fly into South Australia despite the state’s border restrictions with Victoria.
In a statement, the Adelaide Crows’ CEO Tim Silvers apologised for the breach, saying the club had not lived up to its own standards or those of the community.
“We are well aware of our responsibilities and the need to adhere to guidance and protocols put in place by the AFL and health authorities,” Mr Silvers said.
“Our club accepts the AFL’s penalty and from top to bottom owns this error in judgement.”
Mr Silvers said the club had been “complacent” and the incident should serve as a reminder “to be vigilant in playing our part to try and limit the spread of COVID-19”.
“It is a privilege to be playing games during these challenging times and we acknowledge the government requirement for people to wear face masks in airports and on all domestic commercial flights,” he said.
Fine follows other AFL incidents
The incident comes a little over a year after the Crows were penalised for breaching an AFL requirement to train in pairs while in quarantine at a Barossa Valley resort.
Assistant coach Ben Hart was stood down for six weeks over the incident, while 16 players were handed one-match bans.
Two players from the Crows’ cross-town rival, Port Adelaide, were also suspended from games after breaching the league’s protocols by having visitors at home in August 2020.
Port Adelaide’s Peter Ladhams was suspended for three matches and Dan Houston for two matches, while Crows player Billy Frampton, who lived with Ladhams, was cleared of any fault.
Port Adelaide was sanctioned $50,000 for the breach, with $25,000 suspended and the remaining $25,000 deducted from the team’s 2021 soft cap — meaning the club had that much less to spend on salaries this year.
In its statement, the AFL said 100 per cent of the Crows’ fine would come out of the team’s soft cap.