East Fremantle Salary Cap Investigation
WAFL minor premiers East Fremantle are being investigated for a serious salary cap breach that has put their premiership campaign in extreme jeopardy.
SportFM can reveal that the Sharks face a substantial fine and premiership point penalty
similar to that issued to South Fremantle this year.
Any points penalty would not apply until next season, meaning East Fremantle are not in danger of being thrown out of this year’s finals campaign.
But East Fremantle players will be required to return about $16,000 in superannuation payments erroneously paid directly to them in the 2022 season.
And East Fremantle could start next season with minus eight premiership points, the penalty handed to South Fremantle for their breach.
The Sharks last week became minor premiers for the first time since 1998, the last season they won the flag.
A WA Football Commission audit of the 2022 season revealed that East Fremantle:
+ paid superannuation amounts twice - once to the player and an identical amount to the relevant super fund. Only one payment was included in the club’s total player payments.
+ did not include in the TPP football boots worth about $5000 given to players, allegedly as match day awards.
+ did not include in the TPP an initial contract payment to a player who was later signed as a rookie during the AFL’s supplemental selection period.
It is understood that East Fremantle and the WAFC are negotiating the penalties and when they are likely to be announced.
East Fremantle did not want the breach and penalties revealed while they were playing finals but it is understood an announcement is being considered immediately after the second semifinal next weekend.
The Sharks will play the winner of this afternoon’s qualifying final between Subiaco and Peel to determine who goes directly into the grand final on September 24.
It is the latest in several salary cap breaches this century that have seen nearly half the WAFL clubs penalised.
South were fined $25,000 and lost eight premiership points this year.
In 2020, Peel were fined $50,000 and CEO John Ditchburn was banned from any official position for two years after the club paid $5000 cash to a player. The matter came to light when a staff member was sacked for querying the cash payment.
West Perth had two breaches this century, including a failure to report one round of player payments, while Swan Districts were fined $25,000 for breaches in 2011 that included paying for a player’s mouthguard.
A WAFC investigation was unable to substantiate suggestions that Swans were at least $200,000 over the salary cap in their 2010 premiership season.
IMAGE: The West Australian