Andrew Lovett sacked by St Kilda - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Andrew Lovett sacked by St Kilda

16/02/2010 07:19:02 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda have admitted to blundering in recruiting high-risk midfielder Andrew Lovett, sacking the player on Tuesday just 24 hours after he was charged with rape.

Saints vice-president Ross Levine said Lovett's behaviour, which included multiple breaches of his playing contract, had damaged the club's reputation.

But St Kilda stressed the decision to tear up Lovett's three-year, million-dollar deal was unrelated to his guilt or innocence of the charge.

The former Essendon star will face court on Friday, charged with raping a woman in Port Melbourne on Christmas Eve.

Coach Ross Lyon conceded the club had been hurt, having traded away a first-round draft pick in October for the troubled ex-Bomber.

He claimed Lovett's behaviour could not have been predicted but said the club as a whole took responsibility for the "unanimous" decision to recruit him.

"Like we do with all players we went through what we believed to be a due diligence, or research and referencing and at the end of that we made a reasoned decision, a unanimous decision - match committee, list management and coaches - to trade for Andrew," said Lovett.

"It's easy to sit here now in hindsight, but we're certainly not sitting here saying it's been a positive outcome.

"It's been a negative outcome, not one either party would have sought, but that's where it sits at the moment."

But Lyon said the playing group could use the controversy to bind closer together before the start of the season.

"As a coach and a team, playing group, we need to focus on our actions and prepare - and the AFL season continues, albeit we're one short," Lyon said.

"It's undeniably a negative start but there's no doubt we couldn't have foreseen this and there's a lot of things that happen in AFL football that it's hard to see coming but you try and prepare for challenges thrown up.

"We feel we're mentally strong and a tough group, a resilient group and it will certainly galvanise us."

Levine, St Kilda's vice-president and legal adviser, said the club's image had taken a major hit.

"I have to say we've already had feedback that it has hurt our reputation," Levine said.

"We'd like to think we can rise above it and that if it had continued on beyond this it would have continued to get worse.

"We've got members, we've got sponsors, we've got players - our general brand in the market place, and it's association unfortunately with someone who's been charged - innocent until proven guilty - but charged, does unfortunately damage our reputation."

Lovett has lodged a grievance appeal with the AFL but Levine said that had now become a "moot" point.

Chief executive Michael Nettlefold said Lovett had in his short time with the club "engaged in a series of acts and omissions in breach of his employment contract, entitling the club to regard his employment as at an end".

He referred to Lovett's previous arrest for public drunkenness in November 2009.

It was followed by the Victoria Police investigation and subsequent rape charge.

"During Andrew's short tenure with the club, on a number of occasions he engaged in actions that were failures to comply with our standards of expected behavioral conduct," Nettlefold said.

"These failures related to his training commitments and a failure to contact club officials in a situation where he should have done so.

"We simply could not ignore such breaches."

The AFL will not intervene in the Saints' decision to sack Lovett.

"The AFL respects the right of St Kilda to make this decision and we do not intend to interfere in the matter," said league operations manager Adrian Anderson.

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