Steven Trigg
Steven Trigg

Adelaide Crows chief executive Steven Trigg hopes to return to his role at the club after he was handed a six-month ban for his central role in the Kurt Tippett salary cap saga.

Trigg refused to answer questions at an AFL hearing on Friday for 'legal sensitivities' but said in a prepared statement he was not fully aware the extra payments he sanctioned at the time were breaching AFL regulations.

Trigg also copped a $50,000 fine as well as a 12-month suspension from performing any AFL function, six months of which are suspended, for binding an agreement that saw Tippett receive two $100,000 payments outside of his standard contract and be allowed to move to a club of his choice at the end of 2012.

Trigg went on to say the club had 'never intended to exceed and never has exceeded the Total Player Payments limit' and made a point of referring to the club's punishment rather than his central role in the controversy.

"The club has paid a very big price for an error of judgement," Trigg said.

"The club has accepted that in negotiations concerning the Tippett deal that those responsible overreached and agreed to arrangements which the club now accepts went beyond the permitted scope of the rules.

"As chief executive, then (2009) and now, I've accepted full responsibility for what the AFL considers to be a significant transgression for those rules and for that I'm sorry.

With Trigg's future at the club now in the board's hands, Trigg described the punishment as 'extraordinarily tough' and said he hoped to return to his role in six month's time.

Trigg argued the club was simply trying to meet Tippett's hefty demands when tying him to a multi-million dollar three-year deal in 2009.

"What I can say now with the benefit of hindsight and in the defence of those involved is that we were trying to meet what we understood was Kurt Tippett's desire for the club to accommodate him if he wanted to move to another club at the conclusion of the contract - to do the best thing for our club.

"The club was obviously very keen to retain the services of Kurt Tippett because of the enormous value placed on him seemingly by everyone in South Australia and everyone at our club.

"We were faced with a player who was homesick, who was unhappy in the city of Adelaide and a player with an offer from the Gold Coast to join them on what really were very favourable terms.

Adelaide chairman Rob Chapman, who claimed to have no knowledge of the illegal operations, sought to immediately apologise to all involved with the club.

"I want to sincerely apologise to everyone associated with the Adelaide Football Club, I'm talking its staff, players, coaches and members, supporters and importantly our sponsors," Chapman said.

"The integrity of our game and our competition is paramount... we accept therefore the sanctions that the AFL has imposed upon us.
"The Adelaide Football Club accepts that its executives erred in the manner in which they negotiated with Kurt Tippett and his management and the way in which they handled and managed the agreement in which they and the player entered.

Chapman hoped Trigg would return to his role once his time was served but said all that would depend on the board's rulings.

"I'm a personal supporter of Steven and at our club we have a very wide agenda and over the next few years I believe he is the best person to lead us through that but we'll just have to wait and see what the board finally decides over the next few days," he said.

"I know that if Steven had his time again he would take a different course of actions and make different decisions... I know it's isolated.

"To not reveal it to the board, umm, I understand, it doesn't mitigate or condone what he's done in any respect."

Chapman recounted the first time the 'secret' payments came to light at a club meeting in 2011 but at the time felt no need to investigate further upon Trigg's assurances.

"There were whispers that there were clauses in contracts, we asked the question back then of the chief executive (Trigg).

"The answer we got was satisfactory to the board that we weren't breaching any rules, that it existed in a contract, and that contract must have been registered with the AFL.

"It was a rather innocuous discussion and we didn't think that there was anything wrong and it'd be easy to reflect in hindsight."

Asked whether he felt the sanctions on were light, Chapman clearly did not agree.

"I don't think the players or the coaches will think it's light, I certainly don't, I think it's a big impost.

"We've admitted the breach and we will just work harder and stronger and use it to galvanise us and make us stronger."


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