PORT Fairy and Merrivale football clubs are facing hefty fines following revelations money was used to broker a player transfer.
The Warrnambool and District Football Netball League (WDFNL) is referring the circumstances surrounding the clearance of Port midfielder Sam Dwyer to Merrivale last week to the Victorian Country Football League.
The move comes after Merrivale confirmed to the WDFNL it had reluctantly agreed to a request from Port Fairy to pay $1000 to end a protracted dispute over the rising star.
But under VCFL rules transfer fees are banned.
“No VCFL club shall offer, pay, demand or receive a transfer fee for a player transferring between two VCFL clubs,” according to VCFL rule 1.14.
Merrivale president Paul Fish issued a brief statement yesterday.
“The Merrivale football club paid $1000 to the Port Fairy football club to get Sam Dwyer cleared. Now that we have found out we have broken a VCFL rule, we have cancelled the cheque,” Fish said. “They told us he would be cleared after he gave them service (seven games). He did and then they wanted $1000.”
He said the Tigers had never offered a payment and only reluctantly agreed to write the cheque because they felt they owed it to Dwyer who had been through tough times in trying to get to Merrivale. Dwyer’s clearance from Port Fairy had been refused twice by the Seagulls because he was a contracted player.
Port Fairy president Mick Finnigan declined to comment.
WDFNL president Justin Balmer said the league had contacted Merrivale on Saturday wanting to know if a payment had been made.
He said Merrivale was unaware it had broken a VCFL rule until it was pointed out and quickly made moves to cancel the cheque. He said the Tigers had co-operated with his requests and the matter would be referred to the VCFL.
Under VCFL rules, a club or clubs found to have breached the rule shall be referred to the area appeals board, which determines “any penalty”, including a “substantial fine” or any such penalty it deems appropriate.
VCFL south-west area manager Brett Anderson said he had never been aware of a transfer fee rule breach being brought to the area appeals board.
He confirmed he had been in discussions with the WDFNL but declined to comment further on the matter.
Hampden league president Bob Guiney and chief executive officer Mike Farrow were yesterday unaware of the developments.