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Live coverage: AFL investigation into Melbourne

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Former Melbourne coach Dean Bailey has been suspended from coaching for the first 16 rounds of the 2013 AFL season. He ...
Former Melbourne coach Dean Bailey has been suspended from coaching for the first 16 rounds of the 2013 AFL season. He is allowed to maintain another role with his current club, Adelaide. Read More Photo: Joe Armao

Just one post from the Demons' official Twitter feed in the wake of the AFL's press conference to hand down its findings on tanking charges.



And similarly, just one post from the AFL's official Twitter feed as well...



AFL logo.
The statement of the findings from the AFL:
There had not been a directive from the Melbourne FC board or executive management that the team should deliberately lose matches in any game during the 2009 premiership season.
·         The Melbourne FC, its coach and team did not set out to deliberately lose in any matches during the 2009 premiership season.
·         Melbourne FC then-general manager of football operations Chris Connolly during the 2009 premiership season had acted in a manner concerning pre-game planning, comprising comments to a football department meeting, which was prejudicial to the interests of the AFL.
·         Melbourne FC then-senior coach Dean Bailey, having regard to Mr Connolly's comments, during the 2009 premiership season had acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the interests of the AFL.·         Chris Connolly is to be suspended until February 1, 2014 from occupying any office or performing any function (including attending matches or training sessions) for or on behalf of any club, such suspension to commence Monday, February 25, 2013.
·         Dean Bailey is to be suspended from coaching  for the first 16 rounds of the 2013 premiership season. During this time, he will not be permitted to have any match-day role or any role working with players but he may remain employed by the Adelaide FC if it so chooses.
The Melbourne Football Club accepts that in relation to this matter it must bear ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the club personnel in key roles, and has accordingly agreed with the AFL to a fine of $500,000.

In relation to Brock McLean's comments on On The Couch which ultimately sparked the AFL investigation, Gillon McLachlan says the AFL didn't place a hugh emphasis on what he said in July last year.

Jim Stynes.

McLachlan says 'not to his knowledge' was there any link between then president Jim Stynes [pictured left] and the decisions of his club to rest players in 2009.

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Just to reiterate ... employees of the Melbourne Football Club (Dean Bailey and Chris Connolly) have been found to have breached player rule 1.6. The investigation found both had acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the interests of the AFL. Connolly has been banned from holding down any role with an AFL club for 12 months. Bailey can't coach in any capacity in the AFL for the first 16 rounds of 2013. The AFL has found that Melbourne was responsible for the behaviour of its employees and fined $500,000.

Chris Connolly.

Gillon McLachlan: "There was no tanking on match day." The AFL accepted a modicum of responsibilty for the tanking scandal by admitting it took place under the context of the priority pick rule. "What Chris Connolly [pictured left] has accepted and been found guilty of is making a poor decision in a meeting under huge pressure to get outcomes under a rule that has now been changed," said McLachlan. AFL says the club has been fined because it had to take responsibilty for its employees' actions.

Cameron Schwab.

McLachlan says 'there is no evidence' the CEO Cameron Schwab [pictured left] or then president Jim Stynes had any knowledge of the activities. McLaughlin refused to comment on the question of any other club behaving in a similar way to Melbourne in terms of resting fit players and playing others out of position.

The line from the AFL today on the difference between breaking player rules and playing to lose is pretty clear. Gillon McLachlan: "There is no evidence to suggest Dean Bailey or any players went out to lose games on match day .... Dean Bailey rested players who were available to play and played players out of position."

Dean Bailey.

The fine for Melbourne is $500,000. "The evidence suggests, and Dean Bailey [pictured left] agreed .... he made decisions to ultimately appease Chris (Connolly). He made decisions to rest players," the AFL's Gillon McLachlan said. "All three parties, Melbourne FC, Dean Bailey and Chris Connolly have accepted the sanctions."

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In regards to Connolly's much-discussed address towards selected Melbourne staff in 2009 about the importance of not winning too many matches, McLachlan said: "Chris Connolly went into a football department meeting and made a terrible decision in making a comment prejudicial to the AFL. He now regrets that comment," the AFL's Gillon McLachlan said. "The people in the room took him seriously."

Chris Connolly

But here's the crux ... coach Dean Bailey and then football manager Chris Connolly [pictured left] have been found sanctioned .... Connolly suspended from any office with any AFL club until 1 February 2014. Bailey has been suspended from coaching for the first 16 rounds of the 2013 season. Bailey is allowed to maintain another role with his new club Adelaide during that time.

Gillon McLachlan.

The media conference is underway. Gillon McLachlan [pictured left] is fronting the media and described it as an 'extensive' investigation into the club's activities. Here's the verdict ... drumroll ... The AFL has found there was NOT a directive from the club to actively try to lose any matches in 2009.

There has been extensive analysis of the Melbourne saga already, including the role (if any) of the late Jim Stynes, who was president of the Demons in 2009. Today his widow, Sam Stynes, said his reputation of would not be tarnished by any finding the club deliberately lost matches during his leadership.

Stynes, who died almost a year ago, was club president in 2009 when the club was alleged to have deliberately lost matches in its efforts to secure better draft picks. READ MORE

Samantha and Jim Stynes.
Samantha and Jim Stynes. Photo: Angela Wylie
Melbourne Football Club

The AFL investigation into Melbourne's 2009 season has lasted about six months but the discussion and conjecture about the Demons has been in existence a lot longer. Caroline Wilson has led the way with her coverage of the saga and her latest exclusive report on Friday detailed how Melbourne appeared to have escaped draft penalties but faced a fine of $500,000 as the AFL investigation into tanking sparked by Brock McLean moved on Friday into the final stages. Those final stages are seemingly upon us with the league to outline at 2pm the latest information surrounding the probe.

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