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West Coast Fever Fined $300,000 For Deliberate Salary Cap Breach

T
he West Coast Fever have been fined $300,000 and stripped of 12 competition points for the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball season after deliberate salary cap breaches were found.

Early reports suggest the Fever made payments of $127,954 above the salary cap in 2018 and $168,659 in 2019, equating to 19.7% and 25.3% over the cap for each year, respectively.

The Super Netball Commission announced the sanctions following an investigation that began in June involving undisclosed contracts which committed to payments above the approve Super Netball League Total Player Payment cap.

The investigation revealed no Fever players or current coaches were aware of the breaches or involved in signing players or organising payments through undisclosed contracts.

Despite the $300,000 fine, $150,000 of the fine is suspended and to be paid if the total player payment rules are breached again by the Fever in the next three years.

Super Netball Commission chair, Marina Go, said the nature of the penalties reflected the seriousness of the action.

“The West Coast Fever have been given heavy penalties for the significant breaches of the club’s salary cap over the 2018 and 2019 seasons,” Go said.

“There is no room for this behaviour within our sport and the Commission is disappointed to have to hand down these sanctions,” she said.

Shortly after the Fever lost to the Melbourne Vixens in this years Super Netball grand final, Netball WA managing director, Simon Taylor, and president, Deane Pieters resigned from their positions.

The Fever have not publicly named the individuals responsible for the breaches.

The breach follows the Adelaide Thunderbirds being fined $100,000 of which $90,000 was suspended, earlier this year, for breaching the 2019 salary cap by $22,698.

Commenting on the Adelaide incident compared to the Fever incident, Go said the Fever’s breach was more serious.

“Adelaide and Perth were two very different situations,” Go said.

“The reason why this one is particularly harsh is because it was over a number of seasons, it was significant, and so there was definitely some deliberate action here.

“It might feel light compared to other sports, but compared to our sport, this is the toughest penalty we have ever served up,” she said.

Commenting on the breaches, Netball WA president, Grant Robinson, said the club has began a strategic review of its structure to avoid future breaches.

“As a club, we take full responsibility for this outcome,” Robinson said.

“We have let down our members, staff, players, partners and fans.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring this never happens again within our club, and to that end we have already commenced a significant review of our structure,” he said.