Adelaide and their former chief executive Steven Trigg are in the clear after an AFL investigation into Eddie Betts’ move from Carlton to the Crows.
The investigation was sparked by Mick Malthouse’s dramatic allegation two days ago that the Crows “stitched up” the free agency move 18 months before it happened in late 2013.
Under AFL rules, it is illegal for clubs to strike deals with free agents outside the official negotiating period.
Malthouse had backed down from his original claim before the league announced on Thursday afternoon that it was satisfied there was no breach of its rules.
“Broadly, I made sure that I thought Steven was totally innocent of any mischief,” Malthouse told Fox Sports of his conversation with the league.
“It was more about structures: `this is how you set the thing up’.
“If there was a slight boasting there, so, `this is how it’s done’ and he was running that.
“I think it’s good practice to get something set up.”
Malthouse originally told SEN on Tuesday that, when Trigg moved from Adelaide to Carlton last year, the chief executive told the Blues that the Crows had Betts “stitched up 18 months out”.
Betts moved between the two clubs after the 2013 season as a restricted free agent.
Apart from sparking the AFL investigation, Malthouse’s SEN interview led directly to his sacking later that day.
Immediately after Malthouse made the claim about the Crows, Betts’ manager Ned Guy said it was 100 per cent incorrect.
Trigg and the Crows also denied the allegation.
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the league interviewed 14 people, including officials from four clubs and two player agents.
“Betts, through his management, explored a number of options at other clubs for potential consideration to his playing career, as is allowed under the rules, but came to no binding agreement before the 2013 free agency period,” Dillon said.
“Betts and Adelaide lodged a free agency bid under the rules and Carlton then formally notified the AFL it would not match that offer.
“The AFL is satisfied the AFL rules were adhered to.”