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Mark Robinson says the AFL prioritises brand protection over integrity of the game

Mark Robinson, the Chief Football Writer for the Herald Sun says the AFL prioritises the protection of their own brand above the integrity of the game.

The Melbourne Demons tanking scandal has dominated the headlines once more following an explosive report which exposes the contents of transcripts from interviews conducted into 58 current and former Melbourne staff members.

At least eight footy club staffers claim to have been told to ‘tank’ and not win more than four games in the 2009 season.

However, when the AFL concluded their investigation in 2013, they found that Melbourne did not deliberately set out to lose games. Then acting AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan claimed he wasn’t even sure what tanking meant. Despite this, Chris Connolly, who was Melbourne footy boss at the time, was suspended for a year, coach Dean Bailey was suspended for 16 weeks and the Demons were fined $500,000. For not tanking.

Marko & The Ox ask whether the result of the investigation would have been different if the AFL had scrutinised the matter as closely as they did with the Essendon Bombers during the supplements scandal.

“Only the AFL can answer that,” Robbo said.

“In the end, they threatened Essendon and the key people at Essendon with suspensions and fines unit the Football Club, and people involved, took their penalties,

“Now they took those penalties before the investigation had closed and found them guilty or not guilty, but the AFL railroaded a result before the investigation [finished], they asked for a preliminary report and they took action on that,

“They are looking after the brand and, again, I understand that,

“But sometimes integrity issues come up when you’re looking after the brand, but people, and people’s reputations are getting smashed.”

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