Kurt Tippett to plead ignorance over AFL salary details
CONTROVERSIAL Crows forward Kurt Tippett will plead ignorance in a bid to avoid being handed heavy punishment by the AFL next week.
Tippett, along with Adelaide Football Club and its officials including chief executive Stephen Trigg, former football manager John Reid and present football operations manager Phil Harper will all front the league commission on Monday.
The case relates to the controversial contract signed by the two parties in 2009, which delivered Tippett extra payments outside the club's salary cap.
All parties face various penalties such as "financial sanctions", while the Crows face losing their picks for up to four drafts and Tippett deregistered for up to a year.
Tippett's lawyer, well-known Melbourne QC David Galbally, was yesterday adamant his man should not be held responsible for the "secret deal".
"What, ultimately responsible when you're a 22-year-old kid who's spent most of his life training and playing in an AFL environment that's like a fishbowl and living out of reality? No, of course not," he told Melbourne radio.
"It's the reality of the way these kids come through to play AFL football."
While the third-party payments are believed to have brought Tippett an extra $300,000, Galbally said it would be "naive" to suggest young footballers were aware of all the "finer" details of their contracts.
"It's the fact of the situation," he said.
Adelaide has received papers from Tippett's legal team notifying the club he intended to sue for damages and loss of earning if banned by the AFL.
But, Galbally said it was not inevitable the matter would find its way into the courts, or that Tippett would be forced to sit out next season, for that matter.
"We'll take it step by step. We have a hearing before the commission on Monday and so let's see what happens," Galbally said. "It's all got to play its way out yet."
The same cannot be said for Tippett's manager, Peter Blucher, who seems certain to be held accountable for his part in the saga by the AFL Players Association which is expected to deregister him.
The AFL yesterday added Harper to the list of those being charged, "in accordance with AFL Player Rule 17, which relates to the enforcement of the AFL Draft and Total Player Payments".
"The club will present its case to the AFL Commission on Monday and is determined to explain its position to members, sponsors and all stakeholders as soon as possible," the Crows said in a statement.
If Tippett is allowed to play in 2013, it is looking more and more likely it will be with the GWS Giants.
Even if, as expected, he avoids a season-long deregistration but still receives a significant ban by the AFL, the Giants have signalled their intention to seriously look at picking him up in next month's pre-season draft.
He did not enter next Thursday's National Draft.
The Giants on Monday delisted veteran ruckman Dean Brogan to free up space on their list, while they certainly have the capacity to meet Tippett's financial demands after Israel Folau opted to return to the NRL.