ADELAIDE assistant coach Ben Hart has been stood down by the AFL for his involvement in a breach of COVID-19 training protocols.
Hart will be banned from Crows facilities until June 22, 2020, after an AFL investigation found his breach, which involved 16 Crows players, to be "inadvertent and not done to create a competitive advantage".
The 16 players effectively escaped sanction, all receiving a suspended one-match sanction.
The breach took place at a Barossa golf course, with Kyle Hartigan and Tom Doedee among the players, who were serving a period of 14 days in isolation, as per South Australian regulations.
The AFL probe found the players had adhered to the AFL's own edict that a maximum of two players could train together at that point in time.
The investigation found: "the players had been compliant with the protocols for the majority of a two-hour training session where they had worked in pairs before separating into two larger groups of eight – one group to complete an eight-minute kicking drill, one group to complete an eight-minute running drill in pairs, before swapping.
FULL STATEMENT AFL explains sanctions
"The kicking drill was supervised by assistant coach Ben Hart which is where the breach occurred.
"The investigation found the club had provided written and verbal instructions to players and the assistant coach to comply with the protocols in place, however the assistant coach present had accepted that his instruction was not in line with either the rules or the club’s instructions."
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said on Monday the AFL Commission had discussed strengthening protocols to be applied when players were given permission to return to training post the COVID-19 shutdown.
"We all have a very clear responsibility to ensure we do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus," Dillon said.
'HONEST MISTAKE' Crows boss explains training breach
"The protocols are clear and the actions in this matter, whilst not pre-planned are a breach of them.
"We take this matter extremely seriously. We will not compromise the health and well-being of the community, and remind everyone in the industry – players, coaches, officials and
staff - that they have a responsibility to adhere to the rules for the safety of everyone in the community."
The 16 Crows who have received a suspended one-match sanction
1. Kyle Hartigan
2. William Hamill
3. Ayce Taylor
4. Ben Davis
5. Lachlan Sholl
6. Jordon Butts
7. Lachlan Gollant
8. Ronin O'Connor
9. Ben Keays
10. Fischer McAsey
11. Joshua Worrell
12. William Frampton
13. Tom Doedee
14. Elliott Himmelberg
15. Myles Poholke
16. Lachlan Murphy