Dees push to have fine halved
MELBOURNE remained hopeful on Monday night of diluting its expected $500,000 fine as a result of the AFL's six-month investigation into whether it deliberately lost games in 2009.
While the AFL remained tight-lipped after Monday's commission talks, the Demons were awaiting details of the final charges to be laid by the league.
The AFL's acting football operations boss Gillon McLachlan put forward his proposal regarding Melbourne's fate to commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, AFL chief Andrew Demetriou and the commissioners during the talks that also centred on sport's role in the recently announced findings of the Australian Crime Commission.
The lengthy commission debate over Melbourne focused in part on the nature of the charges against the club, which initially looked at bringing the game into disrepute. It remained unclear whether specific charges involving the club's integrity could affect its ability to operate its licensed pokie venue, the Bentleigh Club.
It is believed Melbourne was pushing over the weekend to have half of its $500,000 fine suspended. Melbourne is one of five clubs identified by the AFL's recent equalisation report as being in a perilous financial position, despite the fact it has managed to erase its multimillion-dollar debt.
While the club seems certain to escape draft penalties as a result of alleged ''tanking'', former football operations boss Chris Connolly faces a 12-month suspension, which the club is still pushing to reduce.
Adelaide remains hopeful that Melbourne's 2009 coach Dean Bailey, who proved a more co-operative witness in the investigation but had initially faced the serious charge of not coaching to his utmost, will have a significant chunk of his three-month ban suspended.
The Demons are also hopeful of a final resolution as early as Tuesday with the AFL not ruling out such an announcement. Should the Melbourne case go before the AFL Commission, as Adelaide's salary-cap charges did, the AFL has set aside a day next week.
Demetriou, who until Monday had been kept at arm's length from McLachlan's negotiations, refused to comment on Melbourne's fate but did not rule out a Tuesday announcement to clarify the club's situation.
The commission, which held an emergency meeting after the ACC findings were announced, looked at the wider implications of Essendon's position now that the club is being investigated by the national anti-doping authority for allegedly breaching the World Anti-Doping Agency code.
A push to reform the AFL's equalisation strategy, given the growing divisions between rich and poor clubs, saw submissions from all 18 clubs summarised with the AFL club summit taking place next month.
While the AFL has begun briefings with clubs as a result of the ACC findings, Demetriou said he had still not been cleared to give specifics to clubs and remained bound not to disclose to the club concerned the name of the player who is being investigated for allegedly taking performance-enhancing drugs.