The AFL confirms Melbourne player Harley Bennell has been suspended for four matches and will return home as soon as possible, after breaching the AFL’s return to play protocols.

Bennell breached the protocols after leaving Melbourne’s High-Performance Centre and attempting to visit another residence without approval and visiting an unapproved premises.

The AFL, in conjunction with the club, investigated the matter and has determined that Bennell be sent home as soon as possible and suspended for four matches, a suspension that will be served across the first four weeks of the 2021 Toyota Premiership season.

Bennell has not returned to Melbourne’s HPC since leaving the accommodation.

Melbourne Football Club have been fined $50,000 for the breach.

None of the fine is suspended due to a protocol breach earlier in the year by two Melbourne players.

$50,000 will be included in Melbourne’s 2021 Soft Cap.

AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said the AFL’s protocols are the competition’s license to play and anyone breaching them will be held to account. 

“Harley knew the rules and could have put his club and the competition at risk on the eve of a finals campaign.” Mr Dillon said.