Western Bulldogs AFLW captain Katie Brennan and the AFL on Wednesday announced that they had resolved their differences emerging from the suspension of Ms Brennan under current AFLW rules.
The AFL acknowledges that the sanction regime established by the League for the women’s game differs from the men’s game. This regime was established in good faith and in consultation and agreement with the players through the AFLPA in 2016.
The AFL, Katie Brennan and the Western Bulldogs have agreed that, in the post-season review conducted by the AFL into all aspects of the AFLW season, the AFL will amend the differences in the sanctions regime to ensure AFLW players are not more likely to be suspended than men for identical conduct with identical disciplinary records.
The AFL has agreed that this change will mean that Katie Brennan will be available for selection for the first game of 2019.
The AFL thanks Katie and the Western Bulldogs for advocating for the changes, and they will be incorporated into the broader review of all aspects of the game in the coming months.
The AFL has invited Katie to be included in the consultation process and Katie has accepted the invitation.
AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said; "We are pleased to have reached this result. The establishment of the AFLW has at all times attempted to create a new league which both recognises the heritage of the game, but is also open to creating something different and unique. Our decisions are based on what is best for the growth, sustainability and popularity of the national women’s league."
"While creating something new and different, there will always be challenges and in-turn opportunities to improve. The post-season review gives us that opportunity in respect to the AFLW and broader league initiatives." Dillon said.
Katie Brennan said; "I am delighted the AFL has taken the time and responded to review and adjust the rules. I look forward to working collaboratively with the AFL, along with fellow players in the future. The decision to push for change in the rules at this vital time of development reflects the passion I have for the game and the future generations of our sport. The competition is still in its early days and that means it requires appropriate care and support for the growth and sustainability."
"It has been a great privilege to be part of the AFLW Competition over the last two years; a league that has provided so much opportunity for women and girls of all ages to play Australia’s game. I would personally like to thank Peter Gordon and the Western Bulldogs for their exceptional support and guidance during this time. I look forward to my road to recovery and returning for round one in 2019." Brennan said.
The Human Rights commission has been notified that the matter has been resolved.