AFL Finds Melbourne Demons Not Guilty Of Tanking, Suspensions Given Anyway

The AFL decides Melbourne was not guilty of tanking in 2009- to a degree.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

In a major and long awaited press conference on Tuesday, the AFL released their findings into the allegations the Melbourne Demons tanked during 2009 season.

The investigation found that the Demons did not set out to deliberately lose games during the 2009 season, however former coach Dean Bailey and ex-football operations manager Chris Connolly have been suspended as a result of the findings.

The seven-month investigation stemmed from accusations the Demons tanked the 2009 season in order to acquire high ranking draft picks and both former Melbourne senior staffers have suffered huge suspensions for their involvement in the allegations.

Bailey, now an assistant with the Adelaide Crows, has been suspended for the first 16 rounds of the 2013 AFL season while Connolly, still with Melbourne, has been suspended for a full year for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the AFL.

The Demons also copped a $500,000 fine, the third largest in AFL history.

In an 800-page report, the AFL decided the Demons board did not issue any orders to lose games in order to improve their stock  at the AFL draft, a decision in line with Melbourne’s strong denials over the allegations seven months ago.

The late former Melbourne president Jim Stynes has been dragged into the matter, with some questioning his involvement in the tanking scandal. His wife, Sam Stynes, went on Fairfax radio Tuesday to defend her deceased husband.

“He wasn't working 24/7 in the club, he did the odd thing when he was needed and he didn't know what was going on all the time,” Sam Stynes said reffering to her husband who lost his battle with cancer last year.

“He was gravely ill, it's not like he had a cold, he was fighting for his life and he had other more important issues that he was focusing on.”

“At the end of the day I don't think it's going to tarnish his reputation, I've had tremendous support from people who just say .. they're sick of hearing about it six months on.”

“He's gone, I just want him to be able to rest in peace.”

Photo credit: Getty Images

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