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Giants slapped with $100,000 fine over Whitfield saga

Lachie Whitfield of the Giants is tackled during the AFL preliminary final against and the Bulldogs.
Lachie Whitfield of the Giants is tackled during the AFL preliminary final against and the Bulldogs. CRAIG GOLDING

GREATER Western Sydney has been found guilty of conduct unbecoming for its actions during the Lachie Whitfield saga.

The Giants have been docked 1000 draft points, equivalent to a pick at the end of the first round under the league's draft pick value index, while also being hit with a $100,000 fine.

The club fronted an AFL Commission subcommittee after being charged for breaking AFL rule 2.3, which deals with conduct that is unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the AFL, or to bring the game of football into disrepute.

"The subcommittee found that the club is responsible for the actions of senior employees, and were comfortably satisfied that (Graeme) Allan and (Craig) Lambert were senior employees,” the league said.

The charge relates to the actions of then club officials Allan and Lambert, who were suspended for conspiring to avoid a potential drug test for Whitfield.

Allan and Lambert both received one-year suspensions, while Whitfield was banned for six months in a penalty deal negotiated with the league.

The Giants weren't stripped of valuable draft points in the 2016 national draft after fighting the charge, which then delayed the meeting until after the selection night.

The three-man AFL Commission subcommittee comprised of AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, Jason Ball and Paul Bassatt.

"It should be noted that the subcommittee found that the club's board, CEO and COO had no knowledge of the offending conduct and the club's governance in relation to this matter could not be criticised,” the league's statement said.

"(It should also be noted that) the subcommittee gave credit to the establishment and operation of the club's Integrity Committee and its prompt reaction once it became aware of the original complaint.

"Taking into account the seriousness of the matter, but also the mitigating factors in favour of the club, the subcommittee sanctioned the club.”

In a statement, the Giants explained they were pleased at those acknowledgements by the AFL.

"The Giants submitted that a broader club sanction was unwarranted in the understanding that the former staff members acted outside of their authority in managing circumstances and taking matters into their own hands,” it said.

"The Giants believe the individuals' handling of the matter was independent of the club and did not conform with the clearly established club protocols, thus in no way relating to a governance failure on behalf of the club.

"The club takes integrity matters extremely seriously and has co-operated fully with the AFL on this matter from the outset. While disappointed, the club now accepts the decision handed down and will move forward positively towards the 2017 season.”

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Topics:  craig lambert gws giants lachie whitfield