Willaston Football Club penalised for payment breach

Willaston Football Club faces severe penalties from SANFL Community Football for a breach of regulations over the payment of a former senior player.

The club, which competes in the Barossa Light & Gawler Football Association, has been charged with breaches of Regulation 31 of the Player Payment Cap for upfront payments totalling $3000 to Josh Glenn for seasons 2016 and 2018.

Under the Player Payment Cap introduced by Community Football in 2016, no sign-on player payments are permitted.

Several clubs have been investigated and charged with breaches over the last two years, but Willaston is believed to be the first club publicly named as an offender.

The club, which now has a right to appeal the league’s decision, will be fined $10,000 and stripped of six premiership points this season. It also loses three allocated points under the Approved Player Points System (APPS) for seasons 2019 and 2020.

A club official and another former club official also face suspension for one and two years respectively from holding any official roles at the club or affiliated league.

The charges follow a full investigation by the Player Payments Investigation Committee. Glenn, currently playing for Norwood FC, cooperated with the investigation and as a result will not face any penalties.

SANFL Community Football Manager Matt Duldig said the current leadership of the Willaston FC committee had changed since the offences occurred and that the current committee had fully co-operated with the league in its investigation. The club’s committee planned to meet to discuss the charges.

Mr Duldig said the impact of the penalties on Willaston should serve as a warning to all clubs that breaches of player payment salary caps in community football are taken seriously.

“The majority of clubs are following the rules and are seeing the positive impact of the salary cap, which is helping to redirect money toward spending on facilities, junior development and coaching.

“However, those clubs that aren’t should understand that they will be investigated and face the consequences.”

Summary of penalties:

  • $10,000 fine, $3000 of which is suspended until the end of 2020 season and will be invoked with any breach of Regulation 31.
  • Loss of 3 APPS points for season 2019 and season 2020
  • Loss of 6 Premiership Points in 2018 (3 matches)
  • Club official suspended for 12 months from holding any official role with an affiliated league or club, effective immediately
  • Former club official suspended for 24 months from holding any official role with an affiliated league or club, effective immediately.