Statement from the President of AFL Canada
As many of you may be aware, an incident of assault occurred against a Midnight Suns player during a post-IC14 celebration at the Team Canada hotel in Melbourne, Australia, last August. The assault was reported to the Victoria Police and a person (who was not a player, coach or official member of our Canadian Team) was charged and found guilty of two counts of indecent assault. The ‘event’ at which the assault occurred was not an official, sponsored or sanctioned AFL Canada event.
This assault was brought to the attention of AFL Canada in late August and a complaint was lodged against Canadian players who allegedly bore witness to the event.
AFL Canada takes this situation very seriously and as such has been the subject of an ongoing investigation.
At this time AFL Canada would like to remind our members that we do not condone, support, promote or in any other way tolerate the objectification, abuse, assault or neglect of women, men or any other group for that matter.
This assault has been, and will continue to be treated seriously but the investigation and decisions will not be communicated until all parties have been provided with an opportunity to respond, the outputs assessed and next steps determined. We will also be developing a comprehensive policy to ensure proper procedures are in place and implemented in the future.
We ask that our members remain patient during this time and that if you have any queries regarding this process you contact AFL Canada directly.
AFL Canada values our women footballers, the contribution they make in bettering our game and continuing to grow the sport across Canada.
AFL Canada is committed to making the football environment safe and inclusive for “All”.
Following an investigation undertaken by three indepdant members of the AFL Canada Board, AFL Canada did not find any other parties had a case to answer in regards to the incident that occured and referenced above.
During this investigatoin, that took over a year and involved multiple interviews with over a dozen parties, did identify a number of areas requiring immediate attention by AFL Canada.
Firstly, the investigation itself took too long. For that, AFL Canada is sorry. We have taken learnings from this investigation and put in place a process to ensure that should any investigations be required in the future, we are better equiped to undertake such an excercise.
Secondly, the AFL Canada board during it's January Board meeting approved a "Member Protection and Respect Policy" to ensure the expectations of behaviour are clear for all members.
Thirdly, an updated Code of Conduct was devised and is required for all AFL Canada Natinal Team Participants, and has been circulated to all member clubs and encouraged them to adopt a corresponding policy. This will give AFL Canada the mechanism to be able to more quickly undertake an investigation, should one be required in the future.
AFL Canada does wish to publicly apologise for the time it took to complete it's investigation. We are confident we've taken the appropriate learnings and feedback and are better equipped should we need to investigate another unfortunate event such as the one that occured following IC14.