Dear Members and Supporters,

The AFL has today confirmed that all matters in relation to its investigation of the Melbourne Football Club’s on-field performance in season 2009 have been concluded.

As you know, the investigation that has lasted some seven months and included over fifty interviews as well as forensic examination of the Club’s computer files, has had a major impact on our Club.

From the moment the investigation commenced, we were determined to defend our Club against the allegation that we deliberately lost games.  This has been achieved. The findings of the comprehensive AFL investigation state clearly there was no directive from the Club Board or executive management to deliberately lose matches, and the Melbourne Football Club never set out to deliberately lose matches in any game during the 2009 season.

The Club recognises and accepts its responsibility in relation to the AFL Player Rules, including the actions of our employees. The fine imposed by the AFL is significant. We have dealt with financial setbacks in the past, and we will meet this challenge.

Many significant factors were considered prior to accepting the sanctions. If we were to pursue a legal battle, there would be a high cost in terms of time and resources, which the Club was prepared for. Clearly there were other considerations, including the impact on our football department, coaching staff and players as they prepare for the season ahead. There was also the recognition of the toll taken by this investigation on key people within our club. On balance, we determined that accepting these sanctions was the best course of action to take for our club.

After similar consideration, Chris Connolly has also accepted his sanction in the best interests of the Club. Chris is an outstanding football person whose contribution to the game and our club over many years has been immense.  Chris will continue as a Melbourne Football Club employee following his suspension.

By accepting the sanctions, our Club and team can run out on Friday night in their first NAB Cup game clear of any distractions and prepare for Round 1.

Thank you to all those members and supporters who have so strongly supported the Board and key club figures throughout this trying period.

Don McLardy