Football Federation SA and Adelaide City Football Club
The Adelaide City Football Club (the Club) has today been sanctioned by the independent Disciplinary Committee in relation to three breaches of the FFSA Competition Rules and Regulations and the FFSA Senior Men’s Competition Operating Regulations.
The Club has had 18 competition points removed from the 2017 season, resulting in the loss of the League Premiers title and a further 18 competition points for the 2018 season. All prizemoney received for these seasons, totalling $32,500, are required to be repaid and will be redistributed to the appropriate clubs. The Club has also been fined a total of $10,000.
In addition, the Club has been deducted six Competition Points for next season, with the deduction of a further six Competition Points suspended for the next two seasons.
Mr Michael Carter, the CEO of the FFSA, said “The adherence of the competition rules and regulations is vital to the integrity of the sport and the player registration system and arrangements between clubs and its players are at the heart of our regulations.
“The FFSA is committed to ensuring its governance oversight of the sport is effective, respectful and measured and that it has a compliance handling system that supports the process. This process includes clear delegations and procedures for the Federation’s administration through to the independent Disciplinary Committee to deal with issues relative to the adherence of its rules and regulations.
“FFSA will continue to work closely with all our clubs to assist them in all competition and regulatory and compliance matters.”
Mr Dino D’Ottavi, President of the Adelaide City Football Club, said “Adelaide City acknowledges it has breached the regulations and accepts the sanction imposed by the Disciplinary Committee is within the appropriate range of sanctions. It hopes it can now put this behind it and focus on the next season.”
The circumstances of the breaches coming to light and the details of the breaches are set out below.
In November 2018, the Club approached the FFSA in relation to a player contract issue. A subsequent investigation, in which the Club fully cooperated, revealed breaches, which have now been admitted to by the Club.
The independent Disciplinary Committee met on Sunday 23 December 2018. The Club pleaded guilty to breaches of the FFSA Competition Rules and Regulations and the FFSA Senior Men's Competition Operating Regulations based on the following circumstances:
Classification of an Amateur Player
Clause 7.b.iii of the FFSA Senior Men’s Competition Operating Regulations stipulates that a club may reimburse an Amateur Player up to a maximum of $200 per week. A Player who is paid more than that amount must be placed on a Professional Player Contract, unless the club can discharge an onus to show that the amount paid accurately reflects expenses incurred by the player.
As the clause is silent on the period of time over which this weekly figure is to be applied, the FFSA has decided that a 40-week period is a fair and reasonable interpretation to apply in the current matter.
FFSA will conduct a full administrative and regulatory review of amateur player registration, compliance and contractual matters and will consult with the FFA to have this matter included in the national review of the NPL competition.
Until then, the FFSA will continue to interpret the clause in the way it has interpreted the clause for the current matter. That is, a player can be remunerated up to $8,000 per year before any onus is placed upon a club as provided for within the clause.
- A total of five players in 2017 and four players in 2018 were registered as Amateur Players but were remunerated more than the prescribed amount.
- Accordingly, they should have been registered as Professional Players because each were remunerated in excess of $8,000.
- This is a breach of clause 7.b.iii of the Senior Men’s Competition Operating Regulations.
- The club thereby breached clause 88(1)(c)(i) of the FFSA Competition Rules and Regulations.
Payment made to a Professional Player (Breach 3)
- For the duration of the 2018 season one player who was registered as a Professional Player was paid more than his Contract stipulated.
- The Club had an agreement with the player other than his Professional Player Contract.
- The Club has therefore breached clause 7.b.ii of the Senior Men’s Competition Operating Regulations.
At no time during the 2017 or 2018 seasons has the Club been in breach of the salary cap of $150,000 for a Premier League Club as provided in clause 7 of the FFSA Competition Operating Regulations.
The independent Disciplinary Committee has handed down the following sanction to the Club.
- Deduction of 18 Competition Points for the 2017 season;
- Removal of the League Premier title for 2017;
- The Club is required to repay prizemoney received in 2017 totalling $25,000;
- The Club is fined $5,000.
Breaches 2 and 3
- Deduction of 18 Competition points for the 2018 season;
- The Club is required to repay prizemoney received in 2018 totalling $7,500;
- The Club is fined $5,000.
- The Club will have 12 Competition Points deducted for the 2019 season. Half of these points, that is six points, will be deducted immediately. The remaining six points will remain suspended for the balance of the NPL Licence Period, which concludes at the end of the 2020 NPL Season.
No further comment will be made about this matter by either the FFSA or the Club.