The investigation process is in place to deal with incidents not captured at the time by the Umpire or not available on the vision for the Match Review Panel to review. Clubs who disagree with the outcome as determined by the Match Review Panel may also have the ability to request an investigation into the same incident however the following process must be followed:
- Time to Lodge Investigation Request: Club wishing to lodge an investigation have 5 days following the match that the incident occurred to submit a request in writing to investigate the incident in question.
- Initial Investigation Fee: Clubs must submit a $500 cheque made out to the League the club competes in when lodging the notice of investigation with their League Secretary.
- Extension for Investigation Request: The League may agree to extend the period to request an investigation into an incident to a maximum of 30 days provided the club requests the extension within the initial 5 day period.
- Appointment of Investigations Officer: The League will appoint an Investigations Officer to investigate the incident.
- Scheduling of Investigation Interviews: The League will schedule a time and day for clubs to meet with the Investigations Officer to provide evidence on the case. Your League Operations Manager will schedule interviews at a venue of their choice and clubs will need to make their members available at the scheduled time. Additional fees may apply should the interview venue change (see fees below).
- Who is to be Interviewed: It is the responsibility of clubs to provide a complete list of members who are to be interviewed about the incident in question. The Investigations Officer may request additional interviews with club members not put forward. Additional fines may apply for clubs who fail to produce key members of an investigation (see fees below).
- Investigation Time Period: The Investigations Officer has 10 days to conduct the investigation process as he/she sees fit. An extension of up to 10 days may be granted by the League should additional time be required.
- Distribution of Final Report: Once the report has been finalised by the Investigations Officer, a copy shall be distributed to all parties involved and the League shall provide clubs with further details on the steps to follow should they apply. The Investigations Officer and the League reserves the right to withhold sections of the final report should they contain sensitive material that clubs do not need to be privy to.
- Scheduling of Subsequent Tribunal Hearing: The League shall schedule subsequent Tribunal hearings should they apply and clubs and reported players must make themselves available at the scheduled time. Notice of hearings must be sent to clubs within 9 days of receiving notice from the Investigations Officer.
- Other Recommendations: From time to time, an Investigations Officer may include certain recommendations that do not require a Tribunal hearing. The League Board of Management will consider recommendations and apply them as they see appropriate (ie. It may be recommended that a club is fined for their involvement in a certain incident).
- Adjournments: Adjournments may be sought from time-to-time in cases where there legal action against one or more of those involved in an investigation may coincide. Please refer to AFL Victoria Country rule 7.6.3 c) which outlines that in any case where an adjournment takes place, the player(s) in question shall be ineligible to compete in any official match until the charges have been heard. If all parties are happy for an investigation to proceed, only then can the investigation run its course.
- Appeals: Players and clubs are well within their rights to appeal the decision of the AFL Goldfields Independent Tribunal as a result of a case being referred from an investigation. Please refer to the AFL Victoria Country handbook for rules and timelines on how to process an appeal against the outcome of a Tribunal decision. Please note that clubs must decide whether they are electing to appeal:
- The severity of a sanction imposed
- The outcome of a sanction imposed
- Or Both
- Initial Fee: Clubs must submit a cheque to amount of $500 made out to the League the club competes in with the initial request for an investigation.
- Outcome Fees: The following fees shall apply following the outcome of an investigation:
- When the Investigations Officer determines that there is no case to answer, the club that has requested the investigation shall receive a refund of $200, and the balance of $300 will be paid to the Investigations Officer as payment for his/her services.
- In cases where the Investigations Officer refers the matter to the AFL Goldfields Independent Tribunal, and a verdict of not guilty (or case not proven) is determined, the club that has requested the investigation shall receive a refund of $200 and the balance of $300 will be paid to the Investigations Officer as payment for his/her services.
- In cases where the Investigations Officer refers the matter to the AFL Goldfields Independent Tribunal and a guilty verdict is determined, the club that has requested the investigation shall receive a full refund of their $500. The club of the player/official that has the guilty verdict applied to it shall be fined $300 (In addition to any additional Tribunal fine) which shall be used by the League for payment to the Investigations Officer for his/her services.
- Note: The above financial policy shall be applied in cases where the Investigations Officer shall be paid the standard fee of $300. In extenuating circumstances (e.g. more difficult, complex or lengthy investigations) the Investigations Officer may request an amount over & above the flat rate of $300 and which will be negotiated with the League accordingly. In such instances, the League will adjust the amount of $300 to the revised amount in the above case.
- Relocation of Interview Venue Fee: Should a club fail to be able to commit to attend investigation interviews at the arranged venue and as such the venue is changed to suit the need of the club affected, a flat fee of $200 shall be charged to that club which shall be payed to the Investigations Officer.
- Failure to Cooperate Fee: Clubs who fail to cooperate with the investigation process shall be fined a minimum of $200. The League, in conjunction with the Investigations Officer, shall determine if a club has failed to cooperate with the investigation process. Examples of failing to cooperate include players/officials not turning up for interviews, clubs failing to confirm availabilities for interviews or clubs withholding members from the investigation process.
- Other Fines: Any other fines implemented as a results of recommendations from the Investigations Officer or as a result of a subsequent Tribunal hearing shall be issued to the club in question on top of any other fines or fees that apply.