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‘Embarrassment’: Eddie’s remarks backfire

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has been left with egg on his face after the Magpies copped a $50,000 fine for breaching the AFL’s strict coronavirus restrictions.As first revealed by 7 News, Collingwood self-reported a COVID-19 breach after coach Nathan Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson played a tennis match with two people in Perth including…

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has been left with egg on his face after the Magpies copped a $50,000 fine for breaching the AFL’s strict coronavirus restrictions.

As first revealed by 7 News, Collingwood self-reported a COVID-19 breach after coach Nathan Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson played a tennis match with two people in Perth including former tennis star Alicia Molik.

Neither of the other two participants were part of Collingwood’s “bubble”, and the four-person activity had not been approved by the AFL.

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“Buckley and Sanderson sought and received permission to play outside of the hub against each other on Wednesday and again on Friday. It was a breach of AFL protocols to play with two members of the public on Friday,” Collingwood said in a statement.

“Buckley and Sanderson did not breach any West Australian government protocols by doing so. Collingwood’s 14-day quarantine period in Perth expired last weekend.”

On Saturday, Collingwood accepted a $50,000 fine from the AFL, with $25,000 suspended.

However, the Magpies also confirmed Buckley and Sanderson offered to pay the $25,000 fine from their own pocket.

“At the time, we believed we had followed and adhered to the protocols as required but after returning to the hotel and readdressing the circumstances it became crystal clear that we had breached the current AFL protocols,” Buckley said in a statement.

“The competition is asking its constituents to make great sacrifices for the show to go on and we have all accepted these for the long term future of the industry and the privilege of participating within it.

“In regards to the financial sanctions handed down, Brenton and I have committed to meet this. We both accept responsibility for our actions and are accountable for the outcomes of those decisions, good or bad.

“The members and supporters that underpin the club need to know that their financial and emotional investments directly assist our aspirations on field and will continue to do so.”

Collingwood chief executive Mark Anderson described the incident as a “very disappointing reminder” of how careful players and staff must be during the pandemic.

“Our game has been granted the right to continue to play by governments around the country. In exchange for that right we simply must do all that we can to protect the health of our players, staff and the communities in which we are living and playing,” Anderson said.

“Our football program has been educated and constantly reminded of its responsibilities and as senior leaders of our program both accept that this breach should not have occurred.

“As a club, we apologise, vow to be better and fully accept the penalty.”

Less than 24 hours before the Collingwood fine was handed down, McGuire called for anyone inside the AFL bubble who breached the league’s coronavirus protocols to be personally fined.

READ MORE: Fines handed to three clubs for breaches

“I think the people who breach the protocols should be fined personally, to be honest.” McGuire said on Fox Footy.

“You can get to the clubs in due course, I think the AFL’s set it out, but I think it’s got to be a personal fine.

“I think the point Gill McLachlan made during the week is 100 per cent right — we make a rule to keep the game going. From here until the Grand Final, there’s still about $250 million worth to be left on the table if this ends. It’d be a disaster, imagine if we don’t get to finish off the finals series now.

“That rule book is not how do we get around every rule, that’s the rule book you live by. And if you don’t like it, we’ll arrange for you to go home. I think that’s fair and reasonable.”

On Friday, four other AFL clubs were fined for breaching the AFL’s Return To Play protocols — Hawthorn were fined $50,000, while Carlton, North Melbourne and Richmond were fined $45,000.

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