Editorial: Amateur Status

Posted on - Latest News, Featured

Brett Connell – VAFA CEO

One of the cornerstones of our wonderful competition is Amateur Status – defined as “one who does not receive or agree to receive, either directly or indirectly, any remuneration or reward whatsoever (whether by match payments or expenses or otherwise) in respect to their participation as a player, in the Victorian Amateur Football Association”, being a VAFA amateur player is something to be proud of.

In short, it is how we all began playing – for the love of the game.

In December 2016, the VAFA Members’ passed a Board recommendation to implement an Independent Integrity Division (IID) to investigate and report on matters that may undermine the integrity of the competition.

Such matters within the jurisdiction of the IID included but were not limited to the following:

  • Amateur status;
  • Behaviour of a player, coach, official or any support personnel associated with any Club;
  • Behaviour of officers, employees and agents of the VAFA.

Over the course of the 2017 VAFA season, the VAFA IID received 32 complaints through its online portal. 90% of these complaints were anonymous, in that the contact details of the individual or individuals making the complaint were not provided.

In the case of the anonymous complaints, there were some instances in which an investigation was either not possible or not warranted, where an anonymous complaint lacked detail the IID had no means of obtaining further information because the complainant had chosen not to identify themselves or provide contact details.

Further, some complaints were deemed to be speculative and were not investigated further.

The complaints received, anonymous or otherwise, can be broken down as relating to the following:

  • Amateur status (60%);
  • Umpiring/tribunal matters (17%);
  • Unfairness in the competition (9%);
  • Behaviour of a player, coach, official or any support personnel associated with any Club (6%);
  • Behaviour of officers, employees and agents of the VAFA (6%);
  • Drugs (2%)

Of the complaints received, some did not fall within the jurisdiction of the IID. Such matters were instead referred to the VAFA, for their consideration and action.

The VAFA Rules also provide that if following an investigation, the IID is satisfied that a club or person has breached any of the above then the IID shall refer the matter to the Integrity Hearing Panel (IHP) for formal hearing. No referrals were made to the Integrity Panel in the 2017 season.

Following a review of the outcomes of the IID from season 2017, matters related to behaviour of a player, coach, official or any support personnel associated with any club, and behaviour of officers, employees and agents of the VAFA will now be dealt with specifically by the VAFA Board and Administration, allowing the IID to focus clearly on the cornerstone of our competition – Amateur Status.

In the off-season there were a number of community clubs who were found to have breached the AFL Victoria salary cap limits put in place by respective competitions, the penalties handed down sent strong messages throughout the respective competitions.

The VAFA is no different, while we operate under a zero-dollar salary cap our breaches and penalties are equally severe should players or clubs be found to have breached Amateur Status.

Amateur Status will always remain a key pillar of the VAFA, one the Association treats very seriously and our Independent Integrity Division (IID) and the Integrity Hearing Panel (IHP) are key components in ensuring such integrity remains intact.

See you at the footy.

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