Australian Rules: Crows apologise for social distancing breach

·2-min read

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian Football League (AFL) team Adelaide Crows have apologised after they breached the competition's social distancing rules during a training session while under quarantine at a rural golf resort.

Sixteen Adelaide players quarantined at the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort for a 14-day period were spotted training in large groups on the resort's golf course, prompting an investigation by the league.

While it is legal to train in groups of 10 in South Australia state, the top flight of Australian Rules football has restricted training to pairs to protect the integrity of the national competition and align with states that have stricter social distancing rules to contain the novel coronavirus.

Adelaide Chief Executive Andrew Fagan said he had called AFL boss Gillon McLachlan to apologise on Thursday.

"This is our error. There's no walking away from it," Fagan told local radio station SEN on Friday.

"We made a mistake and we accept that. It's been hammered home to us as an industry with our club and the other clubs about the adherence to the AFL protocols and the broader community protocols."

The AFL is expected to issue a penalty to twice champions Adelaide in coming days.

South Australia Police said in a statement they were also investigating the breach.

"SAPOL (South Australia Police) will examine the information to determine if a breach has occurred and if penalties apply," SAPOL said.

The AFL season was suspended after one round in March when travel restrictions and social distancing rules installed by the government made the competition untenable.

The league hopes to restart competition next month but hurdles remain, with state governments in South Australia and Western Australia insisting that visiting teams quarantine for 14 days before being allowed to play.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)