In a stunning revelation for local football in Victoria, the VAFA (Victorian Amateur Football Association) have announced sanctions after a storied amateur club was found to have breached league rules.

As a one-time member of the VFL, the University Blues VAFA club is perhaps the only amateur club in Victoria to have once played in the 'professional' competition. Now, more than 100 years since their last VFL game, the club has received a heavy blow to its long-standing reputation.

The historic club will receive a $22,000 fine (half suspended) and a 20 premiership point deduction for breaching VAFA regulations around the 'player points budget', whereby players are awarded a points value based on their playing history.

It's the amateur football equivalent of a salary cap.

For example, a player who has played at the professional level will be worth more points than 'Average Joe' off the suburban street. With a budget of just 45 points, no club is able to load up too heavily on former AFL players.

This season, the Blues have fielded a number of former AFL players - amongst the most notable are the likes of Martin Gleeson, Alex Fasolo, Cameron O'Shea, Sam Grimley, Kieran Harper, Ayce Cordy and Hugh Goddard, while several other former AFL players have also featured for the Blues this season.

A VAFA media release outlined their findings on Friday.

"Following the completion of a series of audits, investigations, appeals and tribunal hearings, the VAFA has today informed University Blues Football Club that they have breached the team player points budget (45) pursuant to Rule 50A of the VAFA Rules," the release stated.

In total, the rules were breached in nine of the eleven games the Blues have played so far this season. Those matches were:

  • Round 1 against Old Scotch
  • Round 2 against St Bernards
  • Round 3 against Old Brighton
  • Round 5 against Old Melburnians
  • Round 6 against Caulfield Grammarians
  • Round 7 against Collegians
  • Round 8 against Old Xaverians
  • Round 9 against St Kevins OB
  • Round 10 against Old Brighton

The statement went on to outline the punishments the club will receive.

"In accordance with the VAFA Rules governing incorrect player point allocations, specifically under Rule 50A – 50C, the VAFA Board have resolved that University Blues Premier Men’s team will lose any premiership points and percentages gained in the above matches," the statement continued.

"In addition, University Blues FC are fined $22,000 (to reflect $1,000 for each of the twenty-two (22) incorrect player point allocations), of which $11,000 will be suspended up until the end of the 2024 season, subject to any further transgressions of the AFL Victoria Player Points System Policy."

While the penalty cannot be oppositely applied to the percentages of the Blues' opponents, the consequences are still grave for the competition. University find themselves dropping from fifth on the ladder to second last, with only percentage keeping them from the bottom of the table.

With relegation from the Premier Men's Competition to the 'B Division' now a very real possibility, the punishment could yet have further ramifications for one of the country's oldest Australian Rules clubs.

Whether the Blues will be able to climb back up the ladder is yet to be seen, however, the findings will have already no doubt rocked the William Buck Premier Men's competition.