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Schwab history in big AFL fines

By Kim Hagdorn
20 February 2013 12:09PM EST

AN ugly dossier of hefty AFL fines is stacking up on the record of controversial Melbourne chief executive Cameron Schwab.

With a hefty $500,000 fine this week for Melbourne’s alleged football manipulation prejudicial to the AFL, Schwab has now overseen scandalous management at clubs on his watch to cop two of the three biggest fines ever handed down by the league.

He was Demons chief in 1999 when the famous club was whacked with a then record AFL salary cap rorting hit of $600,000 after it surfaced that Melbourne had exceeded by a whopping $810,000 the total payments allowed to players.

Then Demons president Joe Gutnick confessed publicly the immense breach in player payments and Schwab made a hasty departure.

Carlton remains the league’s biggest single fine handed down when the unwieldy Blues were smacked for $987,500 in 2002 and barred from crucial early round draft picks in the same year and again in 2003.

Schwab was back in charge at Fremantle as his new AFL unit was frozen out of the 2002 draft as he coordinated a bizarre and ultimately aborted bid to secure playing services of former Port Adelaide utility Fabian Francis.

The Dockers were barred from the 2002 draft after overspending their 2001 salary cap and an exorbitant offer and commitment to Francis, who ultimately was unable to be taken by Fremantle with the club’s draft ban.

Fremantle was forced to make significant cash settlements with Francis, believed to be in vicinity of hundreds of thousands of dollars and he never played for the Dockers after relocating himself and family to Western Australia.

The Dockers were fined $80,000 by the league deep into 2002 for late and incorrect lodgement of vital paperwork on four players earnings and contract details.

Cries are mounting through AFL circles for the Demons boss to quit after Melbourne was fined $500,000 and former head coach Dean Bailey and club stalwart Chris Connolly were banned for manipulating priority draft allocation potential back in 2009.

Connolly has been banned from the AFL for a year, while Bailey is suspended from assistant-coaching duties at Adelaide until after Round 16 in this season in mid-July.

Acting AFL football operations chief Gillon McLachlan, in a substantially confused manner, announced Melbourne’s fine after almost eight months of extensive investigation into whether the Demons tanked and lost games to guarantee a last-place finish and the first two picks at the 2009 national draft.

McLachlan declared Melbourne’s hefty fine as confirmation that league bosses treated “very seriously” the football crime committed by Demons management at a now infamous meeting in August of ’09.

Connolly was found guilty of instructing Bailey and Demons football staff to select teams that could aid intentions to secure a vital priority draft pick.

The league investigation, which McLachlan revealed interviewed 58 witnesses and amounted to an extensive 800-page report, uncovered no suggestion that Schwab knew anything of endeavours from his two most superior football staff managers in Connolly as department chief and the Demons head coach.

Demons insiders blatantly claim otherwise.

Regardless of whether the Demons chief of day-to-day operations of a multi-million dollar business was briefed on football department planning and executions, or not, there seems to be stronger indication for greater blame on Schwab’s shoulders.

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G.A.Heron 20 February 2013 5:10PM

Schwab should resign immediately, his past management history is dreadful, and he would have been fully aware of what was happening at the Club