The SANFL has handed down severe penalties to KNTFL football club Kybybolite for breaching player payment regulations.
The SANFL released this statement on Thursday night:
Kybybolite Football Club has accepted fines totalling $18,350 and will be stripped of 16 premiership points (the equivalent of 4 wins) in 2019 for breaches of player payment regulations.
In addition to penalties imposed on the club, player Lachlan McGregor has been suspended for eight matches and fined $3500 for accepting a sign-on payment.
Charges for breaches of regulations pertaining to the Player Payment Salary Cap were laid by SANFL Community Football earlier this month against the club, as well as McGregor, another player whose name is suppressed, senior coach at the time of the breaches, Tim Leehane, and club official John Cooper.
The charges against the club, which competes in the Kowree- Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League (KNTFL), were in relation to upfront sign-on payments and offers made to three players in the lead up to the 2018 season, along with a breach of the match payment limit and failing to declare full payment details.
The charges followed an investigation by SANFL’s Player Payments Investigation Committee.
A summary of the penalties is as follows:
• $18,350 fine (with $6000 suspended until the end of the 2021 season) issued to the club for upfront player payments and offers, as well as a breach of the total match fee limit and failing to lodge full payment details.
• Loss of four Approved Player Points System (APPS) points in both season 2019 and 2020.
• Loss of 16 premiership points in 2019 (equivalent of 4 wins).
• Club official John Cooper suspended for three years from holding any official role with an affiliated league or club and fined $2000.
• Senior coach at the time, Tim Leehane, suspended for 12 months from holding any official role with an affiliated league or club and fined $1000.
• Player Lachlan McGregor fined $3500 ($1000 of which is suspended) and suspended for eight matches in the 2019 season.
• A second player, whose name is suppressed, fined $1500 ($1000 of which is suspended) and suspended for two matches in the 2019 season.
SANFL Community Football Manager Matt Duldig said the penalties issued to Kybybolite FC and individuals involved were a reminder to all community football clubs that breaches of the salary cap regulations will be taken extremely seriously.
“The regulations, which are clear in not permitting any sign-on payments for players, have been in place for the past three years and there is no excuse for any player or official breaching these rules,” he said.
Mr Duldig said the Kybybolite FC, led by new president Jamie Tidy, had been fully cooperative during the investigation and that the current executive of the club, all of whom were not involved in the breaches, had demonstrated a commitment to improving internal controls and taking the club in a positive direction.
Mr Tidy said Kybybolite FC had a proud history and accepted full responsibility for the club’s actions.
“We are now working closely with SANFL to implement new processes within the club and ensure Kyby gets back on track to becoming a successful and sustainable football club in the future,” Mr Tidy said.
KNTFL football club Kybybolite is facing charges for breaching the country football player payment scheme.
The SANFL has confirmed that it has investigated the Tigers for breaching the new payment rules which have been introduced in recent seasons.
Kybybolite has been given until February 18 to respond to the charges which relate to paying sign-on fees to players for the 2018 season.
If found guilty, the club will be the first in the KNTFL to be penalised under the current scheme.
In a statement to the Naracoorte Herald, the SANFL said:
“SANFL can confirm it has been investigating the Kybybolite Football Club for alleged breaches of the Player Payment Cap.
“As a result of this investigation, the South Australian Football Commission is now considering charges and penalties associated with these alleged breaches.
“No further comment will be made at this stage.”
The Kybybolite club committee has addressed the matter with its club members, issuing the following statement:
“Over the past few months our club has been investigated in relation to sign on payments made to certain players. Under the SANFL governing laws for country football sign on fees are illegal and while these payments weren’t sanctioned and paid by club funds, Kybybolite Football Club has found to be in breach of this law due to sign on fees paid at the start of the 2018 season.
“We the committee are very disappointed with the position that the football club finds itself in and understand many players, sponsors and supporters will feel let down by these events and likely sanctions will hurt the club financially.
“The committee is working closely with the SANFL to bring this issue to a close so that we can get on with the business of football and ensure the club can move forward.
“The events over the past 18 months have been very hard on many at the club but with resilience and resolve we will continue to work toward making Kybybolite Sports Club the social and sporting hub that it should be.
“More information will be made available in regard to sanctions when known.”
Kyby's A grade side won five games and finished eighth on the ladder in 2018, after finishing fifth in 2017 and second in 2016.