West Coast Fever has admitted to actively offering players accommodation, travel, jobs and the use of cars outside the salary cap as part of the rort that rocked the club and the sport last year.
The club also admitted creating a scheme “designed to circumvent the League’s total salary cap”.
The Fever were fined $300,000 and stripped of 12 premiership points after being found guilty of breaching the Super Netball salary cap in 2017 and 2018 by close to $300,000.
In an open letter to supporters on Thursday, the Fever revealed it had provided players with “confirmation letters” along with their playing contracts, which referred to ”additional support the club was willing to offer during their contract”.
That included use of the club’s fleet cars, support securing employment within or externally to the club and help covering the cost of accommodation and travel.
Offers were deliberately and consciously made to add value to the players’ contracts
The open letter didn’t name any officials responsible for the breaches. The clubs insists they are no longer involved with the club or Netball WA.
Coach Stacey Marinkovich, also the Australian Diamonds coach, was cleared of any wrongdoing.
“In announcing these breaches, and accepting the penalties handed down, we chose not to point directly at those responsible and apportion individual blame,” the club said.
“These actions, and their outcomes, are unacceptable. Those responsible for the actions that led to the breaches are no longer associated with West Coast Fever or with Netball WA in any way.”
West Coast made payments of $127,954 above the cap in 2018 (19.7 per cent over the limit) and $168,659 over the salary ceiling in 2019 (25.3 per cent).
The penalties were handed down in mid-December, with the Fever steadfastly refusing to name who was responsible.
In detailing the level and specifics of the breaches the Fever revealed that:
- The breaches occurred as a result of a period of player contracting undertaken in 2017 and 2018.
- During these periods, confirmation letters of offer were provided to our athletes, along with their formal playing contracts. These letters referred to additional support the Club was willing to offer during their contract.
- Examples of these offers included the use of our fleet cars, support with securing employment either within or outside the Club, and support in covering accommodation and travel.
- These offers of additional support were made to add value to the formal contracts offered to our athletes. They were deliberately designed to circumvent the League’s total salary cap.
- By intentionally failing to report this additional value, the Club breached the salary cap.
Thursday’s letter said the club chose to reveal the details “in the interest of preventing further harmful speculation” and to “take collective responsibility and do everything necessary to make the changes needed to ensure this could never happen again”.
The club said it had “co-operated fully with Netball Australia and worked hard to review our processes and structures”.
“We ask our Fever family, partners, stakeholders and fans to once again accept our apologies for the disappointments of recent months. With your continued support, we move into 2021 as a stronger club – ready to demonstrate that we have the courage, conviction and competitiveness to tackle the toughest season in our history with the grit and determination synonymous with West Coast Fever.”
The new Super Netball season is set to begin on May 1.