AFL chair backs 'strong stance' on Finlayson, Clarkson

AFL Commission chair Richard Goyder has defended the league's decision to suspend Jeremy Finlayson for uttering a homophobic slur after allowing Alastair Clarkson to continue coaching following a similar incident.

Port Adelaide forward Finlayson was last week hit with a three-match suspension for comments directed at an Essendon player during the teams' clash at Adelaide Oval on April 5.

In March, North Melbourne coach Clarkson was fined $20,000 and given a suspended two-match ban for a similar slur fired at St Kilda pair Dougal Howard and Jimmy Webster during a trial game.

The discrepancy between the penalties has been the subject of strong criticism, in particular from the AFL Players Association (AFLPA), which last week accused the league of double standards.

But Goyder took a different view.

AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder.
Richard Goyder has defended the AFL's approach to recent disciplinary challenges.

"I don't think there's a difference in the sense that the AFL has taken a very strong stance on that issue - and that stance is the most important thing," Goyder told reporters on Monday.

"We'll look at the penalty ... hopefully this never happens again.

"If it does happen again, we'll look at an appropriate penalty under the circumstances.

"Both penalties were a very strong signal from the AFL that there's no place in our game for those sort of actions."

Last week, Port Adelaide chairman David Koch said he looked forward to the league "applying consistency to such cases in the future", while AFLPA boss Paul Marsh called for an "urgent review of the AFL's sanctioning framework".

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson.
Alastair Clarkson was allowed to continue coaching the Kangaroos after his pre-season outburst.

“We believe the AFL is consistently inconsistent and there are double standards in its approach to dealing with players compared to others on behavioural matters," Marsh said.

“This issue highlights the lack of clarity on how the AFL handles these situations, and we want this to be the catalyst for an urgent review of the sanctioning framework.

"If this type of conduct is a three-week sanction for a player, it should be for everyone involved in the game.

"This should be clear to everyone in the industry up-front, rather than the open-ended approach that is currently in place.''

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store