The AFL has suspended Port Adelaide youngster Sam Powell-Pepper for a further match after its integrity unit completed an investigation into an Adelaide nightclub incident earlier this month.
However the midfielder avoided a finding of sexual misconduct.
The league determined that Powell-Pepper "engaged in inappropriate behaviour that is unbecoming for an AFL player by being intoxicated in a public place and by making inappropriate contact with a female".
The carefully chosen wording follows negotiations between the league and Port, with the club having sought to avoid terms referring to a sexual misconduct offence from Powell-Pepper in the incident, which occurred the night after Port's round three win over the Brisbane Lions.
As detailed by The Age in recent days, this was in part due to the disputed nature of what transpired between Powell-Pepper and the 20-year-old woman, who alleged via Channel Seven that Powell-Pepper had put his hand up her dress and generally acted inappropriately while drunk.
That she did not go to the police raised eyebrows at Port and helped foster tension between the club and league, with Port chairman David Koch, a Channel Seven personality, making his thoughts on the matter known publicly on Monday. A grievance tribunal had been discussed as an option to help break the stalemate between Port and the AFL.
The AFL issued a release on Wednesday detailing its findings.
"The AFL announced that it had completed an investigation into the behaviour of Port Adelaide FC listed-player Sam Powell-Pepper on April 8, 2018, following a complaint received on April 9, 2018," the league said.
"Following the investigation, the AFL has determined that on April 8, 2018, Powell-Pepper engaged in inappropriate behaviour that is unbecoming for an AFL player by being intoxicated in a public place and by making inappropriate contact with a female. Given media commentary and other reporting in this matter, the AFL also note that it has made no other findings in this matter.
"The AFL has further determined that, taking into account Powell-Pepper has missed the last two Port Adelaide AFL matches in rounds four and five while the investigation was ongoing, Powell-Pepper will be suspended for a further one week from the AFL competition.
"He will not be available to be selected in the Port Adelaide AFL team until round seven. Powell-Pepper will be available for selection in Port Adelaide’s SANFL."
Powell-Pepper had already missed two matches while the investigation was ongoing and while he will be ineligible to play in the AFL against North Melbourne this weekend, he will play in the SANFL on Wednesday. He will in effect serve a three-match AFL suspension.
The West Australian emerged as one of the AFL's most exciting players last year, finishing third in the rising star award.
Source: Read Full Article