AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans today said he had written to all clubs to advise them that Match Review Panel Chairman Mark Fraser had relinquished his role and would step back to assist in the development of new panel members.
Fraser had headed the MRP since the start of the 2010 season, when he replaced former chairman Andrew McKay, and notified Evans that now was the best time for him to move out of the Chairman’s role, following the recent changes to the MRP and Tribunal System that will be enacted for the 2015 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
Evans said he had contacted all clubs to seek their feedback on potential panel members who may wish to join either the Tribunal or the MRP from next season.
"The AFL is greatly appreciative of Mark’s dedication to the role as chair of the MRP – a position that causes considerable debate within the football community.
“Mark has always sought to be accountable for every decision made by the MRP and filled his role with great professionalism over the last five seasons. The role has taken an increasing amount of his time, when coupled with his private practice and the demands of a young family, and he advised me this week it was an appropriate time to step down as chairman.
“The AFL will now consult with our clubs to consider new potential members of both the MRP and the Tribunal and Mark, with his considerable experience, will assist in the training of those new panel members," he said.
Last month, the AFL Commission approved changes to the operation of the Match Review Panel for the 2015 Toyota AFL Premiership Season, designed largely to simply the understanding of the game’s judiciary process for all members of the football community.
The key changes included:
· All offences to now be categorised as fines or weeks of suspension, no longer using any reference to base demerit points;
· The elimination of carry over points on any offence;
· Conduct now to be graded in two categories only – intentional or careless;
· The MRP to issue fines, two-game and three-game suspensions, with more serious offences referred to the Tribunal;
· Simplification of the Bad Record provisions, with a maximum addition of a one extra week’s suspension on a penalty;
· Retention of discounts for early pleas (lowering of fines or one-match suspension reduction), but removal of automatic good record provision;
· Brownlow Medal eligibility to be based around whether a player was suspended / not suspended for a match in any particular home and away season;
· Introduction of fines for low level offences, but with suspensions available to repeat third-offenders within a season;
· MRP retains the capacity to upgrade impact where there is the potential to cause injury.
Separately, the AFL has also advised all clubs that Dr Ross Smith, David Parkin and Neale Daniher have all retired from their roles on the AFL Research Board, and Mr Evans said each had made a massive commitment to advancing the collective knowledge of their industry with their support for development work around the game, both in injury research and tactical studies.
“The work of the Research Board every year is one of the great secret success stories of our game and the AFL has been privileged to have the likes of Ross, David and Neale involved as pivotal members of this group, and we thank all of them for their work,” he said.