The Melbourne Vixens have accepted a costly punishment for refusing to travel to Perth last season to play the Fever.
The Melbourne Vixens have called for Super Netball’s “protocols” to be reviewed after begrudgingly accepting sanctions of more than $80,000 in fines and match costs for their failure to travel to Perth last season to play West Coast Fever.
The punishment comes after the completion of a Netball Australia investigation into why June’s round eight game between the teams had to be rescheduled.
The Vixens refused to travel to Perth after three of their players were denied entry to Western Australia after having visited Byron Bay, a Covid-19 “red zone”.
The Fever claimed the Vixens could have replaced the three “compromised” players but decided not to.
“This is not in the best interests of the competition and devastating for our club, members, sponsors and fans,” the Fever said in a statement at the time.
The investigation – completed by the competition’s compliance manager – found that the Vixens had breached Super Netball’s team participation agreement by not travelling to Perth to play the match.
The Vixens have been fined $50,000 – half of which is suspended for two years – and ordered to pay $31,702.92 for the costs to replay the match at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on July 22.
Netball Victoria, who own and operate the Vixens, have accepted the fine despite their unhappiness with the investigation.
“We are disappointed with the outcome considering the evidence we supplied throughout the review,” Vixens and Netball Victoria CEO Rosie King said.
“We are also disappointed that other options initially presented by the league – such as to delay the game for 24 hours to enable the entire team to travel, or to relocate the game to South Australia or Queensland – were not explored or supported, nor was the league’s ‘Covid-19 decision making process’ enacted which would have provided a framework for teams to follow in such circumstances.
“We understand, however, that the environment in which everyone was working in was extraordinarily difficult with the clock ticking and decisions being made under pressure-cooker conditions.
“The wellbeing and safety of our athletes and staff will always be our priority.
“We hope that the league’s protocols are likewise reviewed as part of a continual improvement exercise.”
Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan said while Covid-19 had presented “unique challenges” for the Super Netball competition and that the Vixens had not deliberately attempted to “disrupt the competition”, rule breaches would not be tolerated.
“Netball Australia recognises that clearer processes and protocols are required for the 2022 Super Netball season,” Ryan added.
Originally published as Vixens punished for their refusal to travel to Perth to play the Fever