ADELAIDE is believed to have guaranteed Kurt Tippett $200,000 outside of his contract and suggested the arrangement be kept secret from the league.
The AFL is investigating correspondence between the Crows and Tippett's management that refers to a list of companies that could provide the additional payments, not acknowledged in the three-year contract the forward signed in 2009.
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The AFL investigation into alleged draft tampering by Adelaide broadens to include accusations of salary cap cheating.
The letter sent from former Crows football manager John Reid to Tippett's manager Peter Blucher is also understood to provide a guarantee the Crows would cover the money - split over two years - if it was not sourced via the third parties.
Tippett's immediate future was in limbo last night, with a trade to Sydney or any other club unlikely to be approved ahead of the conclusion of the three-week trade period at 2pm today.
It is not necessarily relevant whether Adelaide paid Tippett the extra money, however the The Age believes the Crows would have had room in their salary cap to cover the $200,000, had they chosen to include it.
It is also understood there was a clear recommendation in the letter to Blucher that the AFL not be told of the arrangement.
Adelaide is also under pressure after admitting it agreed to trade Tippett to the club of his choice for a second-round pick, a side deal that was not disclosed to the league and could lead to the club being punished for draft manipulation.
Contrary to some media reports, the Crows have assured the investigation it does not involve Joel Tippett's move to Adelaide this year. Joel, Kurt's younger brother, played for West Adelaide this season after being delisted by Gold Coast.
Late yesterday there had been no significant contact between the Crows and Swans, with Adelaide officials ceasing to pursue any trade. Other clubs contacted the league yesterday seeking clarification on the state of the investigation and the risk involved with seeking to trade for Tippett, who seems destined for the draft.
Adelaide and Sydney had agreed last Friday that the Crows would trade Tippett for Sydney's pick 23 and forward Jesse White, who played just three games last season. The commercial value of that deal had been queried around AFL headquarters.
White had done a medical screening at Adelaide but the deal was pulled by the Crows before the paperwork could be lodged after White's meeting with coach Brenton Sanderson. The Crows would have
had to cull a player to fit White on their list. Sanderson is understood to have expressed reservations to president Rob Chapman, who met chief executive Steven Trigg about an hour after his return from Europe on Friday.
The club then contacted AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou to confess to the side deal and offer to open their books up to the league.
The Crows were then pressured by the Tippett camp to complete the trade, with a letter from lawyers representing the 25-year-old threatening Supreme Court intervention if Adelaide did not adhere to its promise to trade him to his chosen club.
That side agreement was also referred to in the 2009 correspondence, not included in Tippett's contract and not disclosed to the league until Friday. Adelaide had believed Tippett would want to go home to Queensland, if anywhere, but instead he accepted a $4 million, four-year offer from Sydney.
Details of the trade deal, first reported in The Age in August last year, were known to officials at most clubs. The alleged salary cap breaches and the agreement to trade him for a second-round draft pick - which could constitute a manipulation of the AFL's draft process - has the club, Tippett and his management company facing major sanctions.
The club could be stripped of draft picks for up to four years in the worst-case scenario and could also face heavy fines if found to have broken the AFL's rules.
Tippett may face a suspension and/or fine, and could even be deregistered if found to be complicit in any rule breaking, with his manager and management company, Velocity Sports, also under pressure.