AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) advises that an independent Tribunal sat in Alice Springs last night, Wednesday 12 August to hear a charge laid against Pierce Liddle of Pioneer Football Club.
Liddle contested the charge of headbutting during the Round 6 TIO CAFL Senior Men's game between Pioneer and Federal Football Club played at Albrecht Oval on Saturday 25 July 2020.
Based on the evidence presented, the Tribunal found Liddle guilty of the charge, which was graded as intentional conduct, high impact and high contact and issued him with a four-match suspension.
As a result of the suspension, Liddle has been de-registered by the AFL under the National Player and Official Deregistration Policy.
Background on the case;
- Louis Egger of Federal FC was allegedly headbutted by Liddle of Pioneer FC in Round 6 of the TIO CAFL Senior Men's game.
- As no umpire was witness to the incident which took place there was no match day report made.
- Federal FC lodged a referral of the incident in accordance with AFLNT Rules and Regulations 9.3 - Referral of Incident involving Louis Egger and Pierce Liddle.
- Pioneer FC also lodged a formal complaint in accordance with AFLNT Rules and Regulations 9.2 – Complaints in relation to a punch by Louis Egger to Pierce Liddle and an earlier incident involving another two players.
- Upon receipt, AFLNT enlisted an independent investigator to interview witnesses, whereby both the Federal FC referral and Pioneer FC complaint were managed within the one investigation.
- The investigator interviewed 15 people, including all game umpires, about the incident involving Pierce and Louis.
- The investigation carried out was extensive and took approximately two weeks to complete.
- The investigator found to be true that Egger punched Liddle. Further, this was corroborated by Egger's admission. This incident was then referred to the independent Match Review Panel which found him guilty; grading the incident as intentional conduct, medium impact and high contact and issued him with a two-match suspension.
- The investigator recommended that Liddle be referred directly to the Tribunal for his conduct in the incident mentioned above. The investigator's report, therefore, formed the vessel for a charge of headbutting to be issued against Liddle.
- At the Tribunal on Wednesday 12 August, Liddle pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Tribunal took into account all available evidence; hearing statements from a field and boundary umpire who were in proximity to the incident, as well as taking into consideration the investigator's report, 15 witness statements and a medical report from a dentist who examined Egger.
The Tribunal chairperson issued the following remarks;
"A lot of weight of both versions of events was taken into consideration when deliberating, along with the witness statements and medical report provided. The evidence provided by Louis Egger as to what occurred was very clear, matter-of-fact and the Tribunal find it to be inherently plausible that a headbutt occurred.
"It does stand to reason that the umpires were not in a position to see the incident and focused on getting the ball in the air from the contest and to keep the game moving.
"On the balance of probabilities, we do find that a headbutt occurred and find Pierce Liddle guilty. The penalty is a 4-match suspension. Due to Liddle's prior record, the result of this charge being founded is immediate de-registration."
AFLNT will work with Pioneer Football Club to ensure the player’s well-being is supported during this time.
Details on Liddle's re-registration history can be found here.
AFLNT will not provide further comment.