Kurt Tippett’s imminent exodus from Adelaide has taken a darker, more mysterious and very much dangerous direction, with those within the AFL turning their heads towards the state of his contract and what may lie outside it.
They are investigating the contract that Tippett signed in 2009 with the Crows after a 55-goal breakout year as a 22-year-old which, as done with every contract, was checked and confirmed by them as fine at the time.
He signed for a hefty figure, especially for a player so young, but an assumed figure may yet rise, with the AFL investigation to incorporate a look into potential third-party deals surrounding it.
Whether as a verbal or written agreement between the player, manager Peter Blucher and club, it is a third-party deal that allegedly has breached the salary cap, and one that would sit outside the AFL-approved contract as a part that they simply could not accept.
If the salary cap was indeed breached, it would come with severe ramifications not seen for a decade, after Carlton famously were fined $930,000 – a record figure – and suspended from the first two rounds of both the 2002 and 2003 National Drafts, which took an obvious toll on the club.
The results of a breach has also been observed through the NRL with the Melbourne Storm, who were stripped of two premierships as a result. Adelaide is yet to win a premiership with Tippett but their 2012 NAB Cup victory would come under fire.
Though the players involved in Carlton’s scandal – Stephen Silvagni and Craig Bradley included – were never penalised, it is the awareness of a third-party deal from the three parties that may see all of them receive heavy punishments.
Tippett could potentially see himself de-registered from the AFL as a result, and other club officials – CEO Steven Trigg for example – could face fines or, at the absolute worst, be forced out of a job.
This is also without mention of an added outside clause that made a note of him being open to a trade for his team of choice’s second-round draft pick which, although not very beneficial to Adelaide given his quality as a player, could fall under draft tampering and yet receive additional punishment.
The deal proposed by Sydney, being pick 23 and Jesse White in exchange for the 25-year-old, looked suspicious enough on its own.
The AFL is planning to meet over the issue once again today, and while an AFL statement released earlier this week highlighted that the contract was “still investigating how (it) relates to (the) operation of AFL Player Rules”, the recent accusations and information should provide a lot more for the meeting to entail.
It’s no doubt a cloudy situation. A lot of heads and enough information sprung leads to fuzzy details about the exact stipulations of just what happened when Tippett put pen to paper three years ago, but whatever did eventuate is soon to be extracted.
With trade week closing on Friday, it casts a shadow over the trade period remaining, and leaves little time for a move to Sydney with background noise on its way to infiltrate every facet of any proposed deal in relation to Tippett and the clubs.
Pending what is then discovered, it may lead to the most hectic close to a trade period seen, and predominantly not for good reasons.