Renmark Football Club was fined $5,000 and docked four premiership points for the 2023 season, for a player eligibility violation during Saturday’s Grade A semi-final.
- Renmark Football Club violated the rules by selecting a footballer to play the semi-finals of grade A and grade B
- The club was fined $5,000 and had four premiership points deducted from its 2023 season.
- Riverland Football League says sanction is important to “set a standard” for the future
The Riverland Football League (RFL) Commission found Renmark Football Club in breach of constitutional rules, after a footballer was chosen to play in multiple semi-finals.
The footballer played in Renmark’s Grade B semi-final the previous weekend, as well as in the Grade A semi-final clash against Waikerie Football Club at the weekend.
The footballer in question qualified for both grades, but RFL chairman Mark Wright said choosing the player for both matches was a breach of the rules.
“If you have players that have been playing both grades all year, which is what happened with this player, you pick them for your A-grade game or your B-grade game,” he said.
As a result, Renmark Football Club was fined $5,000, half of which was suspended for two years pending further infractions by the club.
Rovers also had four Premiership points and four Approved Player points deducted for the 2023 season.
“We also considered losing that game for Waikerie to win the game,” Wright said.
“But the consensus of the six commissioners was that [our decision] It was the best course of action.”
Wright said it was a difficult decision to make, but an important one for the RFL’s future.
“There have to be implications if you break those rules so we can set a standard,” he said.
ABC Riverland reported yesterday on social media that Waikerie Football Club had filed a complaint, but acknowledges that it did not contact the club for comment prior to publication.
However, the president of the Waikerie Football Club, Aaron Thompson, has since explained to ABC Riverland the events that occurred.
He said that during the game, the Magpies were alerted to a player on the field who “possibly shouldn’t be.”
“All we did as an opposition club was send emails [the RFL] asking how he was allowed to be there contradicting the rules they had sent,” he said.
“So at no point did we file a formal protest and at no point did we ask for the game to be voided, I’m not even sure where that rumor came from.”
In previous years the semi-finals have been played on the same weekend, but this year they have been separated by a week.
Thompson said the RFL communicated the players’ eligibility before the final campaign, but believed Renmark had no intention of breaking the rules.
“It’s a pretty harsh penalty,” he said.
“But that’s up to the RFL commission, it’s not really up to us.”
The SANFL and Renmark Football Club have been contacted for comment.