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AFL charge GWS over Whitfield affair

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016 Jason Phelan

Greater Western Sydney have been charged for a breach of AFL rules over the Lachie Whitfield affair, but won't lose any picks at Friday's draft.

The AFL had been considering stripping the Giants of draft selections after former officials Graeme Allan, Craig Lambert and player Whitfield were suspended for conspiring to avoid a potential drug test last year.

But AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon instead opted to charge the club for a breach of AFL rule 2.3, which covers conduct which is unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the AFL.

The trio was investigated after Whitfield spent three days at Lambert's house, with the knowledge of Allan, in May last year in an alleged bid to avoid a possible drug test, which is a violation of the anti-doping code.

However, Allan and Lambert last week accepted 12-month bans and Whitfield a six-month suspension for breaching the same AFL rule the Giants have been charged with.

GWS have steadfastly maintained their innocence in the matter, arguing Allan and Lambert acted independently, and will contest the charge at a hearing on December 13.

"As reflected in the AFL sanctions for all three individuals, it has been established that the former staff members acted outside of their authority in managing circumstances and taking matters into their own hands," a club statement read.

"Their handling of the matter was independent of the club and did not conform with the clearly established club protocols, thus in no way relating to a governance failure on behalf of the club.

"The club regards any potential sanction stemming from this charge as unwarranted and inappropriate given the admissions by the former staff members that they acted outside their authority.

"The club takes integrity matters extremely seriously and has cooperated fully with the AFL on this matter from the outset."

The Giants will have picks 2, 15, 37, 39, 45, 52, 55, 57, 58 and 59 in Friday's draft, but could be fined or stripped of picks at next year's draft if found guilty by the AFL Commission.

ASADA were comfortable with the sanctions handed to Allan, Lambert and Whitfield given the AFL investigation revealed no use or intended use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Allan, who was installed as general manager of football at Collingwood in August, quit his post in response to the suspension.

Lambert has since moved on to a similar post with Brisbane and will miss the entire 2017 season.

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