Ben Jensen 8 February 2010

By Ben Jensen GEELONG'S 2007 PREMIERSHIP FORWARD MATTHEW STOKES has been suspended until at least round 8, along with other penalties similar to that dished out to fellow forward Steve Johnson in early 2007. Stokes, who will face drug-related charges in coming months, has been banned from official training with the club until round 1 of the AFL season, after which he will only be able to train with VFL listed players. From round 5 onwards Stokes can join in with the main group and subject to other undertakings will be eligible for club selection in round 8. Stokes was also fined $5000, the maximum allowed, and ordered to find full time employment between now and round 4. Not sure how he'll go finding a job for such a short time but there you go.

Club Statement:

”The Geelong Football Club has concluded its internal investigation in relation to the decision by Victoria Police to arrest and charge Mathew Stokes with possessing and trafficking an amount of cocaine on 3 February 2010.

The following sanctions have been determined under the AFL player’s code of conduct. Matters relating to the AFL’s drug codes and the police charges are the responsibility of other authorities, namely the AFL and the legal system.

The club’s sanctions imposed on Mathew Stokes are:

Mathew Stokes has been suspended from consideration for selection in the club’s AFL team until round 8, 2010. The suspension will be served in the following manner:

From today until round 1 of the AFL season, Mathew Stokes can train at the club only when no other players are present.

From round 1 - round 4 of the AFL season, Mathew Stokes can train with the club’s VFL listed players only.

From round 5- round 7 of the AFL season, Mathew Stokes can train with the VFL squad and will be eligible to play in the VFL.

From round 8, Mathew Stokes will be eligible to train with the full squad and for selection in the club’s AFL team.

Mathew Stokes will be fined $5,000, the maximum sanction under the AFL player’s code of conduct.

Between now and round 4 of the AFL season, Mathew Stokes is to find full time employment and conduct any training out of working hours.

Mathew Stokes is to establish a relationship with a drug related community program and assist with that program on an on-going basis.

Mathew Stokes met with the club’s player leadership group (PLG) last Thursday. The PLG considered a variety of sanctions and recommended the foregoing to the CEO. Following discussion with the club’s board and the AFL, the club accepted the recommendation of the PLG and advised Mathew Stokes of the penalties.

These sanctions do not speak to Mathew Stokes guilt or innocence on the charges issued by the Victoria Police on Wednesday, and will stand regardless of the outcome of those charges.

The penalty does not take into account any possible action under the anti-doping code, as the club does not have jurisdiction in this area.

Mathew Stokes has personally retained Mark Dean SC to act on his behalf in relation to the legal proceedings and as the matter is before the courts, the Geelong Football Club will not be making any further comment about this subject until such time as it is concluded.”


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