Pies cop massive fine for mobile phone breach
Collingwood has been slapped with a $20,000 fine after Jordan de Goey and Jeremy Howe were deemed to have breached rules when using their mobile phones during last Friday's match against West Coast.
Under match day rules, mobile phone use is banned in the changing rooms for anyone outside 10 staff members with "clearance"
The AFL confirmed the sanction on Tuesday afternoon.
It follow the Pies' own admission that their players broke the rules by contacting family members on Friday night.
In a statement, AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said all clubs had a duty to fully understand their responsibilities.
"The rules, which have been in place for a long time to protect the integrity of our code, clearly state no mobile phone usage during the match - it is a rule that clubs and players have been educated about and reminded of every year," he said.
"Each club has authorised device users each match day that are there, in part, for the very reason the players used their phones - to contact family members if required. The players know this, the clubs know this, and we must adhere to this very simple but important rule to continue to protect the integrity of the game.
"The AFL would also like to acknowledge Collingwood's co-operation with its inquiries in relation to this matter and remind all clubs of their responsibility to ensure the proper process and procedure is followed on match day and phones remain secure."
WHAT WAS SAID?
Sports integrity experts believe the AFL must attempt to find out what communication was sent from their phones to decipher whether it could've been used for gambling purposes.
"We make all these rules and assumptions that someone is going to pick up a phone and ring somebody and say, 'Here look, put a million bucks on this'," Pies coach Nathan Buckley said on Monday night.
"We do (protect against the worst) and I understand that, and we do as a club as well.
"We take full responsibility for this situation no doubt, but Jordie De Goey (who retrieved the phones) was concussed … so he's not thinking straight."
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But those who have worked in anti-corruption are adamant the bulk of the blame lies with Collingwood - and not the players - for making the mobile phones accessible during the match.
While De Goey and Howe should've known the rules, the Herald Sun reported on Saturday that officials from rival clubs were stunned that the mobile phone box in Collingwood's rooms was seen unlocked.
Operations manager Nick Maxwell is usually in charge of securing the box, which is supposed to remain locked until after the final siren.
But WA's border restrictions meant that Maxwell did not travel to Perth for the Round 5 game because he had been in Queensland the previous week for the club's AFLW preliminary final at the Gabba.
The AFL refused to divulge whether it would check De Goey and Howe's phone records.
In 2015 the AFL failed to locate key text messages during an integrity investigation into the alleged leaking of match information from Michael Talia (Western Bulldogs) to brother Daniel (Adelaide).
"The brothers exchanged text messages in the lead up to the match but these were unavailable to the investigation as Michael Talia lost his phone on holiday in Bali and Daniel Talia had deleted the messages," the AFL said in a statement.
"The AFL makes no adverse findings in relation to this matter."
Eyebrows were raised when multiple senior coaches were pictured with their mobile phones earlier this season, and the Herald Sun asked the AFL whether it was a poor look.
But the league said it had no problem because the coaches were among their club's 10 "authorised device users" on game day.
Their phones are free to be used for emergencies and to place calls to family members, with the football boss and club doctor always retaining their mobiles, and that is how contact should've been made to Howe and De Goey's families.
In 2019 Cricket Australia banned Hobart Hurricanes keeper Emily Smith for 12 months (nine suspended) for posting her team's line-up on Instagram an hour before it was scheduled for release.
Smith was poking fun at her lowly batting position while the game was abandoned due to a washout.
But with millions of dollars wagered on every women's Big Bash match, and more than $100 million riding on some men's games, the breach for posting inside information was taken extremely seriously.
However, Howe and De Goey's error is considered far less serious and as such is only likely to incur a financial sanction.
But a landmark report into illegal gambling, released by the Asian Racing Federation earlier this year, warned that criminals were increasingly targeting sports to launder their crooked cash.
At least $1 billion in Australia was being wagered on illegal betting markets, including the AFL, raising fears of match-fixing and corruption.
Originally published as Pies cop massive fine for mobile phone breach