Demons found not guilty of tanking; coaches banned

AAP, Yahoo!7 Updated February 19, 2013, 3:43 pm

The AFL has suspended former Melbourne coach Dean Bailey and the club's ex-football operations manager Chris Connolly as result of their tanking investigation.

But the league has ruled that the club did not deliberately set out to lose games during the 2009 season.

The Demons have been under investigation for the past seven months over allegations they "tanked" during the 2009 season to maximise draft picks.

Connolly, who still works at Melbourne, is suspended until February next year for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the AFL.

Bailey, now an assistant at Adelaide, is suspended for the first 16 rounds of this season for the same reason.

The AFL also fined Melbourne $500,000, which league operations manager Gillon McLachlan said was the third-largest fine in the game's history.

McLachlan said Melbourne, Connolly and Bailey had accepted their penalties.

The AFL confirmed Melbourne chief executive Cameron Schwab, who had that role in 2009, had been cleared.

The investigation found the Melbourne board had not issued any directive to deliberately lose games during the 2009 season.

The league decided on the penalties after the investigation by its integrity unit, which submitted an 800-page report.

Melbourne strongly denied the club tanked during 2009 and had threatened legal action.

The AFL and the Demons had been negotiating about the penalties before Tuesday's announcement.

It is the first time the AFL has penalised a club or officials over this sort of scenario.

Connolly is banned until February 1 from any involvement at an AFL club.

Connolly has still been working at Melbourne, but no longer in the football department.

McLachlan said Connolly was banned because of comments he made in a football department meeting during the 2009 season.

He added Bailey had admitted to bowing to pressure and making decisions in regards to selection and player management.

"There is no allegation that is able to be sustained that Dean Bailey didn't coach on his merits or any players didn't play to their utmost abilities," McLachlan said.

"Connolly has accepted he went into a football department meeting and he made a terrible and stupid decision in the context of an AFL rule that has now changed (priority draft picks) and in the context of a pressure and expectation of success," McLachlan said.

"He made a comment regarding the performance of the team, a desire to secure a priority pick, and I know he now regrets that comment."

The investigation was launched after years of speculation about Melbourne's performance during 2009, when they finished last.

The catalyst was comments former Melbourne player Brock McLean made in a television interview last July.
Melbourne president Don McLardy was due to hold a media conference on Tuesday afternoon in response to the AFL's announcement.

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  1. Meatloaf09:42am Wednesday 20th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    I pity the poor cleaner at AFL House who now has to stand on the first floor of the building to vaccuum the carpet on the ground floor due to the amount of stuff swept under the carpet.

  2. underarm_bowler07:45am Wednesday 20th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    I seem to remember one year carlton ensured they lost to melbourne in the last game of the year to enable them to get matthew kruzer

    6 Replies
  3. Stephen07:33am Wednesday 20th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    it was only a few years ago carlton played the last game for the bryce gibbs cup, go figure

  4. Wally12:57am Wednesday 20th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    There's only one person to blame for the mess that the AFL is in and that's Demitriou. He has to go. NOW!

  5. isdon12:47am Wednesday 20th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    The AFL should get its head out of the sand or are they all just blind . Lets look at this over the years all the bottom teams have been accused of tanking so they get the best outcome in the draft. That includes Carlton, Melbourn, Richmond and a hole lot more

  6. youngklaus10:32pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    What a totally disgusting outcome, I realise the AFL wanted to bury it, as they were too blame, but what a travisty of justise when you are proven innocent but penaties are still handed out.....and the poor coach.....the scape goat again....absolutely stinks.....KLAUS

    1 Reply
  7. underarm_bowler08:11pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    pay attention to Geert Wilders and the threat of muslimfication to Australia

  8. kahlua06:54pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    how laughable is this? why is Bailey punished? he is a coach who was forced to take orders or would have been sacked for breach of contract.... Cameron Schwab is the brains behind this whole thing.... with Connolly the head stooge.... I can guarantee Demons supporters that they won't taste onfield success until Schwab is removed from the club....

  9. youngklaus06:12pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Listen Paul....Essendon have not been proven guilty of ANY offence that anyone knows of, also the players have never failed a drug test, your the "pissweak one" for not allowing the presumption of innocence on a subject you know nothing about.......

    1 Reply
  10. Jazzer06:12pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    How did the board escape the fall out PLEASE don't tell me they didnt know about it