Football Federation Victoria (FFV) has charged Southern Stars FC with misconduct, fined the club $10,000 and stripped eight championship points from its Men’s State League 1 South East team for 2014 following a probe into match-fixing.
The penalties, announced on Thursday, come in the wake of an FFV investigation into the actions of some international players and a senior coach in 2013.
FFV said Southern Stars cooperated fully with the inquiry which was conducted over several months.
In addition to the sanctions, the club will be required to undergo education and monthly reporting to FFV throughout the 2014 season.
Mandatory club management and governance courses have been imposed on all the club's current committee members (and any new members in 2014) and FFV approval is required for all current and proposed committee members in 2014.
The club must also adopt robust internal procedures concerning coach selection and recruitment of international players.
Southern Stars has been warned it will be barred from entering any teams in FFV competitions in the 2015 season if it fails to meet these terms.
The FFV's actions were separate to the disciplinary process undertaken by Football Federation Australia against each of the individuals charged with match fixing.
FFA has issued life bans on participation in football against two players who have been convicted under Victoria’s new match fixing laws. It has also suspended the remaining players and coach pending the outcome of their criminal proceedings. The bans have been extended by FIFA to have world-wide effect.
FFV’s Chief Executive Officer, Mitchell Murphy, described the sanctions imposed by Victoria's governing body as substantial for Southern Stars which is now, in effect, a community club.
“Due to the complexity of the matter and it being the first instance of match fixing in football in Australia, it was essential that FFV undertook a full investigation,” Murphy said.
“This included consultation with Football Federation Australia (FFA), analysis of Southern Stars’ involvement in the matter, and a full review of FFV’s processes around player and coach registrations.
“The investigation identified a serious lack of governance and failure to conduct due diligence by the committee at Southern Stars.
“Although no criminal charges have been laid against any of the committee members at Southern Stars, its poor administration provided an environment and the opportunity for the match fixing to take place.
“Southern Stars has suffered a high price in terms of reputational loss given the serious failures of governance that led to Australia’s first football match fixing charges, however, it was vital that FFV do more than simply punish the club.
“That is why we will arm the club with the appropriate tools and resources to establish best practice at the core, that is, at club management level so that we can reduce the risk of it ever happening again."
FFV will be adopting a range of recommendations from the investigation to minimise risk of exposure to match fixing syndicates.