South Australian police are investigating the Adelaide Crows for a possible breach of coronavirus quarantine guidelines during a training session in the Barossa Valley.
The AFL team has 16 players staying at a resort in the region north of Adelaide for two weeks, after returning from interstate on Monday to prepare for the recommencement of the season.
Adelaide’s head of football Adam Kelly said on Thursday the players apparently did not observe the AFL’s rules to train only in pairs during a skills session, and instead sometimes congregated in larger groups.
In a statement on Friday, SA Police said it had “received information from the Adelaide Football Club about a potential breach of quarantine guidelines during a training session”.
“SAPOL will examine the information to determine if a breach has occurred and if penalties apply.”
Club chief executive Andrew Fagan said there had “clearly been an error made and it’s our mistake and we accept that”.
He has apologised to AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.
“It’s been hammered home within our industry, within our club and the broader community about the adherence to both the AFL protocols and the broader community health protocols,” Mr Fagan told Adelaide radio station FiveAA.
“We know this is a community issue of significance and we’ve all got to play our [part] to flatten the curve and it’s clear we didn’t do this.”
He said players gathered in groups of up to eight for skills drills.
“That’s a breach and we absolutely accept that and we’re trying to work out how that happened,” he said.
The AFL is also investigating the incident and may lay sanctions against the club.
“We’ll cooperate entirely with that process and hopefully it’s dealt with reasonably quickly,” Mr Fagan said.
Bad communication to blame, coach says
Crows coach Matthew Nicks said players coming together in groups was the result of bad communication.
“What we found was players unfortunately got themselves basically too close,” Nicks told Triple M.
“We ended up with eight players who were kicking a football around in a small area.
“Unfortunately, our communication to the players wasn’t strong enough to keep them apart at that point.”
No other guests are staying at the resort, which is temporarily closed to the public.
McLachlan last week said there was “more optimism and confidence” that AFL games could resume sometime in June.
However, South Australia and Western Australia have rejected waiving quarantine rules to allow teams to come into the states without going into quarantine.