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Nixon considers appeal on ban

The Age

Friday March 25, 2011


DISGRACED player agent Ricky Nixon last night said his two-year ban for acting inappropriately with a teenager was excessive and he was considering appealing the decision.The AFL Players Association agent accreditation board yesterday determined Nixon would not be allowed to reapply for his revoked agent accreditation for at least 24 months.The four-man board met for four hours before reaching a decision, having taken into account Nixon's last-ditch bid yesterday to save his career with a final submission.Board chairman Ian Prendergast said Nixon, believed to still be in rehabilitation for substance abuse, was the first agent to have had his licence cancelled."The board does not take such decisions lightly," he said."Ricky Nixon has been an AFL player agent for over 15 years, has been an innovator in the industry and has contributed much to the promotion of player rights and interests throughout this time."However, the board has found today that Ricky has in recent times made serious errors of judgment, which warrant a serious response."Nixon, 47, was found to have been:€“Entering into an inappropriate personal relationship with a young person who had been in conflict with players the player agent acts for.€“Acting in a matter contrary to the interests of players for whom he acts.€“Misrepresenting to players for whom he acts the nature of the relationship he had with this young person.He now has 14 days to decide whether to lodge an appeal with the AFL's grievance tribunal or take the issue to the Supreme Court.AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said he accepted the board's findings."The AFL has said from the outset that this is a very serious matter and Mr Nixon's actions were inappropriate and totally unacceptable," Demetriou said.While he may have lost his licence, Nixon can still run his business, Flying Start, which has 46 AFL players and two coaches ‚€¯ Carlton's Brett Ratten and the Western Bulldogs' Rodney Eade ‚€¯ on its books.In theory, Nixon has only been banned from negotiating contracts.Nixon's lawyers said Flying Start would continue to represent the players.There had been moves this week by fellow agents inquiring about buying Nixon's list, but all parties were reconsidering their options last night in lieu of a ban some thought would have been harsher."Our accreditation [regulations] governs the right of a player agent to negotiate AFL playing contracts. It doesn't deal with the right of a player agent to run other aspects of his business," AFLPA chief executive Matt Finnis said.Finnis did not rule out Nixon reclaiming his accreditation when the ban expires.Prendergast attempted to quash any potential claims the punishment should have been greater."I wouldn't underestimate the significance of the decision. There may be some people who comment about his ability to continue to run his business, but the ability to negotiate contracts on the players behalf is a significant tool for a player agent," he said."As I understand it, Ricky Nixon negotiates the majority of contracts on behalf of his players at Flying Start."Nixon has admitted to "inappropriate dealings" with the 17-year-old girl, but has denied having sex with her or taking drugs in her presence.In a statement released by his lawyer, Rod Lumplugh, Nixon was said to be "not surprised but is greatly disappointed by the decision as he believes the board's process and investigation of this matter has been completely flawed"."Our client believes the penalty handed down is excessive and does not take into account his significant contribution to the AFL industry and in particular the AFL accredited agents sector. Our client is of the view that he has always acted in the best interests of the players he represents and has done so to the best of his abilities."The board's decision follows an investigation by Melbourne QC David Galbally into Nixon's conduct with the girl.It is understood Lumplugh argued yesterday that as Nixon had not been directly interviewed by Galbally, a penalty could not be reached.After the board's verdict, the girl tweeted: "Four Words: I told you so." She then added: "2 Years . . . Not good enough. Life is more appropriate."

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