St Kilda issued the following statement following the sacking of new recruit Andrew Lovett, who has been charged with rape...
St Kilda Football Club today confirms the termination of the employment of recent recruit Andrew Lovett, effective immediately.
During Andrew’s short period of employment with St Kilda, he engaged in a series of acts and omissions in breach of his employment contract, entitling the Club to regard his employment as at an end.
The St Kilda Football Club has relied on specific clauses within Andrew Lovett’s Standard Playing Contract and the AFL Players Code of Conduct, to permit termination of contract for breach of such clauses.
Following Andrew’s previous arrest in November 2009, a recent Victoria Police investigation and the subsequent rape charge brought against Andrew, the Club formed the view that Andrew’s conduct had brought the Saints into disrepute under his Standard Playing Contract, which entitled the Club to terminate his employment.
The Club would like to emphasise that all people charged with a criminal offence are entitled to the presumption of innocence. The Saints’ decision is not based on whether or not Andrew Lovett is innocent or guilty of the charge. That was not part of the Club’s decision making process and is for the Court to decide.
St Kilda CEO Michael Nettlefold said, “During Andrew’s short tenure with the Club, on a number of occasions he engaged in actions that were failures to comply with our standards of expected behavioral conduct. These failures related to his training commitments and a failure to contact Club Officials in a situation where he should have done so.
“We simply could not ignore such breaches. Nor could we ignore the damage being done to St Kilda’s reputation and decided unanimously as a Club to terminate Andrew Lovett’s employment with the Saints.
“This is undoubtedly a difficult time for all concerned, most particularly Andrew and the woman who brought the complaint to Victoria Police.
"St Kilda has kept the AFL fully briefed from the outset of this matter and has worked diligently and cooperatively with all parties concerned, including Victoria Police."
The Club now focuses on its upcoming Round 1 NAB Cup clash against Collingwood this Friday night at Etihad Stadium.