Johnson sanctions include six week suspension and $5000 fine
The Fremantle Football Club today suspended Michael Johnson from AFL action for six weeks and imposed a $5000 fine under a range of sanctions handed down by the club after he was charged yesterday by police with possessing cocaine.
The club imposed sanctions are as follows:
• Suspension from training with the club until 31 May.
• From 31 May, Johnson will be able to train with the club but will not be available for selection at AFL or WAFL level until 21 June. He will be available for WAFL selection from this date, being WAFL Round 14.
• Not available for AFL selection for the club for a total of six weeks (being five AFL matches and the AFL bye), making Johnson available for selection for AFL Round 14 being 3 July.
• Stood down from the club’s Leadership Group for the 2010 season.
• Fine of $5000, being the maximum allowable under the AFL’s player code of conduct.
• Attendance at appropriate drug counselling sessions as determined by the AFL’s Medical Officers.
• Voluntary target testing under AFL guidelines and procedures and the illicit drugs policy.
The above club imposed sanctions were determined under the AFL player code of conduct and in consultation with the AFL. They are separate to any sanction available under the AFL’s illicit drug policy or any penalty stemming from the police charge.
Fremantle chief executive officer Steve Rosich said today that the club imposed sanctions would stand, regardless of the outcome of the police charge for a small amount of cocaine.
He said that Johnson would have full access to the club’s support and medical services throughout his suspension.
He also said that the player Leadership Group was consulted during the process of determining what sanctions the club would impose on Johnson.
Johnson was advised and agreed to the sanctions earlier today. He will also have a voluntary involvement with a suitable Indigenous or drug and alcohol community program in 2010.
Rosich addressed the playing group this morning, where he advised the players of the club’s position on the matter.
“While we will ensure that Michael’s ongoing welfare is paramount, we are extremely disappointed that, while under the influence of alcohol, he engaged in public conduct that has resulted in a drug related police charge,” he said.
“We strongly support the AFL drug policy and the need to counsel and treat players and we will support Michael in confronting this issue. But we also want to make clear that his actions at the weekend will not be tolerated at this club and that is evident by the action we have taken today.”
Whilst the club was comfortable that the appropriate drug education programs were in place at Fremantle, which include AFL and club managed programs for all players, Rosich said they would be subject to additional assessment.
“Notwithstanding the AFL approved programs currently in place, we will be conducting additional assessment of our drug and alcohol education programs in consultation with the AFL,” he said.