Collingwood Football Club has fully accepted the sanction it received today for a breach of AFL COVID-19 protocols.
Senior coach Nathan Buckley and forwards coach Brenton Sanderson also accept their responsibility for the breach, which occurred on Friday afternoon when the pair played tennis with two people living outside of the team’s Perth hub.
To demonstrate their accountability, the pair have asked to personally pay the portion of the fine that is not suspended, a sum of $25,000. Collingwood has been fined $50,000 for the breach, $25,000 of which is suspended.
Buckley and Sanderson sought and received permission to play outside of the hub against each other on Wednesday and again on Friday. It was a breach of AFL protocols to play with two members of the public on Friday.
Buckley and Sanderson did not breach any West Australian government protocols by doing so. Collingwood’s 14-day quarantine period in Perth expired last weekend.
“This is a very disappointing reminder of how vigilant we must be to keep the season alive,” Collingwood chief executive, Mark Anderson, said.
“Our game has been granted the right to continue to play by governments around the country. In exchange for that right we simply must do all that we can to protect the health of our players, staff and the communities in which we are living and playing.
“Our football program has been educated and constantly reminded of its responsibilities and as senior leaders of our program both accept that this breach should not have occurred.
“As a club, we apologise, vow to be better and fully accept the penalty.”
Buckley and Sanderson added: “At the time, we believed we had followed and adhered to the protocols as required but after returning to the hotel and re addressing the circumstances it became crystal clear that we had breached the current AFL protocols.
“The competition is asking its constituents to make great sacrifices for the show to go on and we have all accepted these for the long term future of the industry and the privilege of participating within it.
“In regards to the financial sanctions handed down, Brenton and I have committed to meet this. We both accept responsibility for our actions and are accountable for the outcomes of those decisions, good or bad.
“The members and supporters that underpin the club need to know that their financial and emotional investments directly assist our aspirations on field and will continue to do so.”