Demons to respond to AFL tank claims

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The AFL has asked Melbourne to respond to evidence which could lead to the club being charged with tanking for draft picks in 2009.

The AFL said any charges that resulted were expected to be laid in late January, after the Demons have had time to respond.

“Evidence gathered during the investigation will this week be provided to relevant parties to give them an opportunity to comment,” the league said in a statement on Wednesday night.

“It is expected that a final decision regarding whether any charges under AFL rules are warranted will be made in late January 2013.”

AFL investigators have already interviewed key Demons football staff and officials about the allegations.

If the allegations are substantiated, it could lead to the AFL Commission handing down severe penalties for the club and individuals found to have been involved.

Demons president Don McLardy said earlier this month that Melbourne planned to defend themselves against the claims.

“I can assure you we will use every resource available to us to defend the integrity of the Melbourne Football Club in the strongest possible way,” he said.

The long-running investigation was sparked by comments made by former Melbourne midfielder Brock McLean, now with Carlton, in a television interview in July in which he claimed “Blind Freddy” would have realised the club wasn’t trying to win late in the 2009 season.

Melbourne’s poor record that season meant they qualified for a priority pick, giving them the first two selections in that year’s draft, under a system that has since been scrapped.

© AAP 2014

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