The Adelaide Crows have confirmed the club is at the centre of an AFL investigation into a reported breach of the game’s strict coronavirus biosecurity protocols.
The AFL has outlawed clubs from allowing players to train in groups of more than two people while Western Australia continues to hold out against the game’s push for teams to re-start training.
With reports claiming the AFL is now pursuing a potential season restart in mid-June, many clubs have called back players from interstate under the understanding that clubs will soon begin training in large groups.
It now appears the Crows may have jumped the gun.
The club has reportedly been sprung housing 16 players in a Barossa Valley retreat where they have been accused of training together.
The 16 players and an assistant coach were reportedly a contingent of players called back to Adelaide from interstate in the past 48 hours.
The players were serving their period of quarantine at the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, which is closed to the public.
The players were under direction to only train in pairs, but the club is now under investigation after witnesses claim the group of 16 players were busted training together in a large group.
It was recently made legal in South Australia for groups of 10 or less to train together, but not under the AFL’s return to footy plan.
The players are reported to have trained together on a fairway of the Tanunda Pines Golf Club, which is located next to the Novotel resort.
The club released a statement on Thursday night confirming its players in the Barossa “may have breached the League’s directive to only train in pairs during a scheduled session” on Thursday.
“Adelaide is investigating a possible breach of the AFL’s training protocols by its players who are currently in a quarantine training hub in the Barossa Valley,” the club statement claimed.
“The League, as well as South Australia Police, had been advised that players who had returned from interstate on Monday would move into the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort to observe the requirement to self-isolate.
“As of yesterday, the 16 players have been staying in their own dedicated rooms with a view to completing tailored fitness programs in the large open spaces of the precinct with instruction to not leave its boundaries.
“Given their recent travel movements, the players are required to spend 14-days in isolation due to South Australia’s COVID-19 regulations and no other guests are currently staying at the accommodation facility because it is temporarily closed to the public.”
Crows Head of Football Adam Kelly said the club may have broke the rules during a skills session.
“Players were told to complete any training in accordance with current AFL training protocols, which include not training in more than pairs and at all times maintaining social distancing, while staying at the facility,” Kelly said.
“It appears this may not have happened for the entirety of a skills session and we are in the process of gathering the facts and liaising with the AFL.”
Meanwhile, footy reporter Sam McClure has reported the AFL is privately filthy about the Crows’ reported decision to break the rules.
“The AFL is furious,” McClure told 3AW Radio.
“The Adelaide Crows have now cast a major doubt over the pending restart of the AFL season.”
He said the AFL and the Crows are both investigating possible social distancing, quarantine protocol and training protocol breaches.