A Fine Tribunal System


present AFL tribunal system of disciplining players through of

suspension punishes three parties. The player, his team mates and coach

who must tackle opposition teams without him and the fans denied the

opportunity to watch their favourite players perform. This punishment

may be suitable for the player, but his team and their supporters are

innocent victims. The proposed fine system aims to punish only the

player by substituting suspension of matches for a financial penalty.


is important that this fine system is not introduced as a revenue

raising activity for the AFL but rather the player is forced to

contribute to broader society. At the beginning of each year, every

team (or every player) nominates a chosen charity. It can even be a

charity that has particular significance for that club, e.g Essendon

with cancer research or Melbourne with breast cancer, or could be

junior football leagues effectively donating money to the grass roots

level of football. The important factor is that the money does not

return to the AFL coffers but rather provides a positive channel for

players to combat the image of footballers seen as thugs. Think about a

situation where a player like Jess Sinclair after his 2003 charge on

Lance Picoane could be seen handing over a cheque for $30K to Beyond

Blue to atone for his indiscretion.

<p><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;” lang=”EN-AU”> The

new system uses the existing activation point system of attributing

points; however the penalty given to a guilty player is based on a

percentage of their annual income. To ensure the system is fair, a

player’s salary would be divided in half, with maximum 50% of that

salary available to be withdrawn if the player incurs suspension

effectively creating a ‘penalty bracket’ for each player. This division

also recognises the fact that players have other roles other than match

day including training, public appearances and marketing. Players play

a maximum of 25 matches per season so every match would be attributed

4% of their penalty bracket (or 2% of their total wage).

Example 1

Experienced player earning $400,00 per year reported for striking, found guilty and given 150 activation points:

Total player salary –                   $400,000

Penalty bracket –                 $200,000 (50% of $400,000)

Per match breakdown –           $8000 (4% of $200,000)

150 Activation points –          1.50 x 8000

Total Fine –                        $12000

Example 2

Young player earning $160,000 per year reported for kneeing, found guilty and given 275 activation points:

Total player salary –                   $160,000

Penalty bracket –                 $80,000

Per match breakdown –           $3200

275 activation points –           2.75 x $3200

Total fine –                        $8800


is obvious already from the examples above that fines for players

commiting the same offence will be different depending on the annual

salary of those players. However, the fine should have equal impact if

deducted directly from the players wage as a percentage. It also more

highly punishes the higher paid more experienced players who should

know better having spent longer in the game and being more significant

role models for the community.


success of football teams has a direct link with their ability to get

their best team on the park on any given day. What would Collingwood

have given to have had Jason Cloke available for the 2002 Grand Final

or Anthony Rocca in 2003? Yes, it is fair to suggest that these players

committed an offence in preceeding matches and deserved to be punished,

but did Mick Malthouse? Or for that matter did the rest of their

Collingwood team-mates who complete a rigorous pre-season, battle

through 22 rounds and two finals only to be denied their best possible

chance of achieving the ulitmate success? Finally, did the Collingwood

fans who paid for their memberships, braved the cold to attend all the

matches, and poured their souls into the football club deserve to be

punished also? (I know Explosion will say yes but I’m not so sure). The

system may even need to include a finals surchage to ensure that being

found guility of an offense in there matches is more harshly punished.


system relies on the AFL remaining vigilant in ensuring that all fines

come directly from the player’s payments and are not covered by the

club. However given the AFL are able to achieve this currently with

their system of fining players for melee’s or comments on umpires this

should be easily achieved.


may also be worthwhile to consider giving the players an option of

taking either a suspension of matches or a financial penalty. Whilst it

would seem that most players would accept the financial penalty rather

than miss matches of football it does give them an alternative, and

besides which the money is going to charity so if they do accept the

fines then there are benefits.


purpose of reporting and disciplining players is to inflict punishment

upon that individual and deter future offences. The present system does

achieve this, however it also disadvantages team mates, coaches and

supporters who are innocent of the offence. The proposed system of

fines achieves the same objectives; however limits the punishment to

the individual and has the added benefit of helping football contribute

to some worthy causes

Written by Polly – 2005




This sounds like an extremely plausible concept. I wonder if the AFL

would have the balls to try and introduce something like this however.

Unfortunately those in power seem more interested in self-grandiosement

than development of the sport.

By the way, surely there must be someone else worthy of a full-forward spot than Brendan Fevola!!


Comment by Explosion  –  May 16, 2005

What about players from NSw, QLD, Tassie etc?

Comment by Phelpsy  –  June 16, 2006

Dal Santo is not Del Santo



Comment by Bruce  –  July 27, 2006


Would be just as mickey mouse, look at the olympic soccer tournemnet

for example(u23). The NRL suspends players for not playing, this is

where the AFL needs to get tough. The concept should be kept to the big

three AFL states ( i’m from Queensland by the way) two games a year

would cut it, with the reigning champ each year facing the winner of

the other two. (you have to seed it the first year, that would whip

instant interest and conflict).

Great site by the way

Comment by PAUL  –  September 1, 2006


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