Neil Craig at Melbourne training on Wednesday
MELBOURNE'S director of sports performance Neil Craig said Demon officials caught up in the AFL's tanking investigations will fight any charges they consider inappropriate if the AFL decides to take action against them later this month.
"That would be everyone's right to do that, and that will unfold probably in the next three or four weeks," Craig said.
The Age reported on Tuesday that lawyers representing Melbourne CEO Cameron Schwab and administrator and former football manager Chris Connolly were examining 800 pages of evidence presented to them before Christmas.
The newspaper report said the two officials would need to give reason as to why they should not face charges of draft tampering and bringing the game into disrepute.
Former Melbourne coach Dean Bailey, now with Adelaide, was thought to be likely to face charges of draft tampering, bringing the game into disrepute and not coaching to his utmost. His lawyers were also examining the document.
Craig said the tanking issue had not created much discussion inside the football department and had an "absolutely minimal negative effect" on the players' approach to the upcoming season.
However, he did concede it was likely to be having an effect on the club's capacity to do business off the field. He said sponsors and members might hold off on being associated with Melbourne until the issue was resolved.
"You don't deny that, because it exists," Craig said.
"While there is a sense of urgency to come to a conclusion and get a result with all those issues, the most important thing is you don't rush it … Melbourne is aware of the ripple effect."
He expressed confidence in the leaders of the club to handle the issue in the same professional manner in which they have managed a host of controversial issues in the past 12 months.
Meanwhile, Craig also outlined his reaction when he heard in October this year of the secret components of the agreement that Adelaide had struck with Kurt Tippett that led to the key forward re-signing with the Crows in 2009 when Craig was coach.
He said many underestimated the pressure people can be under in relation to big decisions such as re-signing Tippett, although that pressure did not excuse the rules being broken.
But he was pleased that the Crows had indicated that Steven Trigg would remain as CEO after serving the suspension handed down by the AFL in December and thinks Trigg will be a better CEO for the experience.
"I'm not too critical of people who make poor decisions. I get critical of people who make poor decisions on a regular basis," Craig said.
As senior coach, Craig had no involvement in the contract negotiations involving Tippett other than to indicate to the administration that he was a required player.