POWERFUL player agent Paul Connors has been sanctioned for running a camp for prospective players against draft rules.
The AFL Players Association Agent Accreditation Board slapped Connors with a $7500 fine ($5000 suspended) on Tuesday night.
As reported by AFL.com.au, more than 20 players eligible for the 2020 and 2021 NAB AFL Drafts completed a two-day camp in Sorrento during the school holidays last month.
Connors on Tuesday night told AFL.com.au he fully accepted the fine.
"This was an oversight on my behalf. We simply wanted to provide an opportunity for kids in a season where they haven't been able to play and which has been very difficult for obvious reasons," Connors said.
"We were coming from a good place, it wasn't done maliciously, and we accept the finding."
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The program was aimed at providing AFL clubs an insight on the next crop of talent with the NAB League competition – which has now been cancelled – suspended at the time due to COVID-19.
Most players in attendance had made an official commitment to Connors' firm Connors Sports, including the likely No.1 pick at this year's draft Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.
However, the fact there were at least five players who at the time had not joined the Connors Sports stable constituted the breach under AFL player managers' guidelines.
Players are allowed to officially sign with agents immediately after the draft in the year preceding their own draft eligibility, which will come later this year for the crop of 2021.
The first approach from agents to players can come from October 1 in their top-age year of under-16s.
Connors was found to be in breach of Clause 4.1 of the Agents' Code of Conduct, which prohibits an agent from providing a benefit or other thing of value to a Player in anticipation of the Player signing a Standard Player Agent Agreement.
The maximum fine for any similar breach is $10,000, with the climate of COVID-19 and current reduction in players' wages taken into account in Connors' sanction.
Other players involved at the camp run by North Melbourne pro scout and AFLW coach Darren Crocker included Reef McInnes, Connor Downie, Tanner Bruhn, Finlay Macrae, Sam Witherden (2020 draft), Nick Daicos, Jake Soligo, Tyler Sonsie and Josh Rachele (2021 draft).
Recruiters from more than a dozen AFL clubs made the trip to the Mornington Peninsula watch sessions.
Connors Sports represents more than 100 AFL players and this year poached rising star agent Nick Gieschen from TLA causing a feud between the two rival firms.
Connors is a member of the Agent Accreditation Board but was removed of the discussions around his sanction.
He will remain as one of three AFL agents on the board going forward.