The AFL wishes to advise changes to the operation and governance of the AFL Tribunal after a detailed review following the conclusion of the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

The governance of the AFL Tribunal will move from the Football Operations Department to form part of the AFL Legal Department led by AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon, ensuring the Tribunal function operates separately to the Match Review Officer and the General Manager Football Operations.

AFL General Manager Football Operations Steve Hocking said the time was right to recognise the distinction between the Match Review Officer’s disciplinary classifications and the separate processes of the independent Tribunal hearing of challenges to those classifications. 

"The systems and processes that underpin the operations of the Match Review Officer and the independent AFL Tribunal are fundamental to the AFL and AFLW competitions," Mr Hocking said.

"This revised model will see the roles of the Match Review Officer and the AFL Tribunal governed separately, ensuring our processes continue to progress with the trends of our game."

AFL Tribunal process for 2020:

  • Following the review of each report or referral, the MRO in conjunction with the AFL General Manager Football Operations will determine whether a Player is to be charged with a Reportable Offence.
  • Once charged, if a Player elects to contest a charge at the Tribunal, the formal request and process will be managed by the AFL Legal Department.
  • As per the process in 2019, a Player or the AFL may appeal the decision of the Tribunal to the Appeals Board.

The following statistics outline the key outcomes of the Tribunal for the 2019 season. The current system was implemented in 2018:

  • 92% of Players charged with a Reportable Offence accepted the charge determined.
  • 19 Tribunal hearings were held, compared with 27 in 2018.
  • One case was not sustained at the Tribunal, compared with six in 2018.
  • One case was appealed, as against two in 2018.
  • 26 Players were suspended, as against 35 in 2018.
  • 28 matches were lost through suspension, compared with 65 in 2018. 
  • $178,000 in low-level financial sanctions imposed, compared with $161,000 in 2018.
  • $106,000 in fixed financial sanctions imposed, as against $209,000 in 2018.
  • 36 charges laid for body strikes (ILB & FFS), compared with 48 in 2018.
  • 32 charges laid for high strikes (ILH & FFS), compared with 51 in 2018.
  • 16 charges laid for rough conduct (high bumps), compared with 32 in 2018.
  • 19 charges laid for umpire contact, compared with 44 in 2018.