The AFL has announced the Adelaide Crows assistant coach, Ben Hart, has been stood down for six weeks and 16 players have received a suspended one match sanction after the group breached training protocols related to social distancing.
The AFL said in a statement the group inadvertently breached training protocols after complying for the majority of the session by working in pairs and maintaining social distancing practices.
“The AFL investigation found that the breach by the players and assistant coach was inadvertent and not done to create a competitive advantage,” the statement said.
“The investigation found the players had been compliant with the protocols for the majority of a two-hour training session where they had worked in pairs before separating into two larger groups of eight.
“The investigation found the club had provided written and verbal instructions to players and the assistant coach to comply with the protocols in place, however the assistant coach present had accepted that his instruction was not in line with either the rules or the club’s instructions.
“The AFL acknowledges the Adelaide Crows and their players cooperation in the investigation and prompt acknowledgement of the error, as well as Assistant Coach Ben Hart’s cooperation and remorsefulness,” it said.
The Adelaide Crows said they accept the punishments dished out by the AFL for both the playing group and Hart.
“The Adelaide Football Club accepts the AFL’s sanctions imposed for a breach of player training protocols,” the club said in a statement.
“The league investigation confirmed there was no intent to deliberately break the rules or seek competitive advantage.
“Relevant approvals were provide by both the AFL and South Australia Police for 16 players and an assistant coach to stay in a quarantine hub in the Barossa Valley, including permission to train in pairs in the open space areas and adhering to social distancing.
“As previously stated, the club acknowledges adherence to these protocols did not occur during the delivery of certain elements of the training program involving a group of players last Thursday.
“The club also notes its role and the broader football industry in trying to limit the spread of the Coronavirus,” it said.
The 16 players involved were, Kyle Hartigan, William Hamill, Ayce Taylor, Ben Davis, Lachlan Sholl, Jordon Butts, Lachlan Gollant, Ronin O’Connor, Ben Keays, Fischer McAsey, Joshua Worrell, William Frampton, Tom Doedee, Elliott Himmelberg, Myles Poholke, and Lachlan Murphy.