Lachie Whitfield of the Giants handballs during the round 21 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the West Coast Eagles at Spotless Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Greater Western Sydney charged by AFL

The Giants have confirmed they have been charged by the AFL over the Lachie Whitfield drugs saga.

See their full statement below:

The GIANTS today confirmed that the club will meet with the AFL Commission on December 13 to seek to finalise the 2015 integrity matter involving listed GIANTS player Lachie Whitfield and two former staff members. 

The GIANTS have today been advised by the AFL that the club has been charged under AFL rule 2.3, Conduct Unbecoming or prejudicial to the interests of the AFL, in relation to the 2015 matter. 

All three individuals were sanctioned by the AFL on November 15, including a six-month suspension for player Whitfield who is now ineligible to play for the GIANTS until Round 8 of the 2017 season.

As reflected in the AFL sanctions for all three individuals, it has been established that the former staff members acted outside of their authority in managing circumstances and taking matters into their own hands. Their handling of the matter was independent of the Club and did not conform with the clearly established Club protocols, thus in no way relating to a governance failure on behalf of the Club.

The Club regards any potential sanction stemming from this charge as unwarranted and inappropriate given the admissions by the former staff members that they acted outside their authority. As a result, the GIANTS intend to contest this charge at a hearing with the AFL Commission on December 13.  

For the sake of clarity, the GIANTS can confirm the issuing of this charge won’t impact the club’s process of selections at Friday’s AFL Draft.  

Mid-way through 2015 the Club was made aware of an allegation from a member of the public that warranted investigation. The Club acted swiftly and appropriately, alongside the AFL – as soon as the GIANTS’ CEO was made aware of the allegation the AFL and the GIANTS’ Board were notified. The Club’s Integrity Committee immediately commissioned an independent investigation by a Senior Counsel based on the then available evidence before the Senior Counsel’s report was forwarded to the AFL.  

The Club takes integrity matters extremely seriously and has cooperated fully with the AFL on this matter from the outset.