Brownlow Medal winner Jimmy Bartel has criticised AFL chairman Richard Goyder over a ‘throwaway line’ which he says implies multiple other clubs have been investigated for breaching coronavirus protocols.
Discussing the suspended one-game sanction handed down to 16 Adelaide Crows players after they had trained together in defiance of South Australia’s continued ban on gatherings, Goyder said the league had arrived at the punishment due to the ‘context’ of when it happened.
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“You’ve got to look at the context, what happened and the time in which it happened ... it was the appropriate penalty,” Goyder said on ABC Grandstand.
“At the same time we were investigating a number of other instances of potential breaches from clubs - I hasten to say investigating.”
It was these comments that drew the ire of Bartel, who is football director for the GWS Giants.
AFL clubs are set to resume training over the coming weeks, with the league setting a return to competition date of June 11.
Jimmy Bartel frustrated by ‘throwaway’ comments
The former Geelong champion said Goyder was ‘creating an issue’ unnecessarily by implying there had been multiple breaches of the rules just as the competition was getting ready to restart.
“To me, it seems a bit of a throwaway line if you’re not going to back it up. Why, why, why would Richard Goyder say they’re not the only club investigated?” he said on 3AW’s Sports Sunday show.
“Name other clubs. Otherwise, you’re just creating an issue when there isn’t one. And if they were investigated, well clearly they didn’t breach it, because we haven’t heard about it.
“You’d think it was thought through. He’s a very bright man, of course, he’s run some of Australia’s biggest companies.”
“Is it to provide the good old bubble wrap to the Adelaide Crows, a bit of cushioning to keep the heat off?”
Bartel’s co-host, Carlton AFLW coach Daniel Harford, suggested it made no sense for Goyder to bring up other investigations unless the league was required to hand down sanctions as a result.
“If he’s going to drop that bomb - why would you drop that bomb?” he said.
“As you say, if they had been investigated and nothing’s happened, they obviously didn’t break the rules. So why would you bring that up?”