West Coast Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich says even she still doesn’t know who was behind the club’s devastating salary cap rort, but she’s urging fans to stay loyal in 2021.
On a dark day for Australian netball last month, the Fever were docked 12 competition points for 2021 and handed a $300,000 fine for serious and deliberate salary cap breaches in the Super Netball competition.
The 12 competition points equate to three wins, meaning the 2020 grand finalists face a huge challenge just to qualify for finals this year.
Fever made payments of $127,954 above the cap in 2018 and $168,659 over the salary ceiling in 2019.
That equates to 19.7 per cent over the limit in 2018, when they reached their maiden grand final, and 25.3 per cent over in 2019 when they finished sixth.
Half of the $300,000 fine has been suspended for three years.
The breaches involved undisclosed contracts which committed to payments above the total player payment cap.
Fans were left stunned by the developments when they emerged late last year.
The Fever have refused to name who was responsible for the breaches, with the club merely saying they are tied by confidentiality agreements.
Marinkovich and the player group have been cleared of any involvement, but fans have been left to wonder if there are still employees at the club who helped orchestrate the rort.
WA Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray has called on those responsible for the breaches to come forward and take ownership.
Fever managing director Simon Taylor and president Deane Pieters quit last year.
AAP is not suggesting they were involved in the salary cap breaches.
When asked if she knew who was involved in the breaches, Marinkovich replied: “No. And again, my role as coach is around performance. I’m not privy to the reports.
“We’ve worked through it as a group – knowing doesn’t change the fact of the situation we’re in. I’ve got so much energy to give, and my energy has got to go on the future.
“A mistake was made. I can’t change it.”
Marinkovich has urged fans to put their trust in the club again, saying changes have been made to ensure a repeat offence will never occur.
West Coast are hopeful imports Jhaniele Fowler and Stacey Francis will be able to fly to Perth in mid-February or early March.
Marinkovich, who was named Diamonds coach last year, will see out the season with Fever before transitioning to the national set-up on a full-time basis.
West Coast suffered a two-goal loss to the Melbourne Vixens in last year’s grand final, and have their sights on going one better in 2021 despite their 12-point penalty.