AFL tribunal fines Thomas, bans Soldo

Carlton's Dale Thomas has copped a $7500 fine for calling an AFL umpire a cheat.
Carlton's Dale Thomas has copped a $7500 fine for calling an AFL umpire a cheat.

Dale Thomas' heated abuse of boundary umpire Michael Barlow has cost the Carlton veteran a $7500 fine.

Richmond also have a short-term ruck crisis in the wake of Tuesday night's tribunal hearing, with Ivan Soldo's one-game striking ban upheld.

Already missing No.1 ruckman Toby Nankervis because of long-term injury, the Tigers will be without Soldo for Saturday night's Dreamtime At the 'G blockbuster against Essendon.

Thomas pleaded guilty and showed remorse for the expletive-laden spray he gave Michael Barlow, also revealing he had rung the boundary umpire earlier on Tuesday to apologise directly.

But AFL advocate Jeff Gleeson QC did not mince his words, saying Thomas' rant struck at the heart of umpiring impartiality, fairness and integrity.

Last week, the AFL fined Sydney co-captain Dale Rampe $5000 after he told a field umpire that he was talking like a little girl.

Thomas was referred directly to the tribunal, with no option of an early plea, and was at the mercy of the three-man tribunal jury on the penalty.

The Blues utility was furious at Barlow in the third quarter of Sunday's hefty loss to GWS after the umpire warned Giants players that they were about to breach the AFL's new 6-6-6 rule.

Thomas mistakenly believed it wasn't Barlow's place to point out the rule breach.

The guilty plea meant Barlow did not have to attend the hearing and the umpire submitted a statement.

"He (Thomas) turned in my direction and said 'you can't tell them that, you can't tell them that d***head'," the statement read.

"I didn't respond. (He) kept yelling and said 'you're a f***ing cheat, you can't tell them that, you're a f***ing cheat'."

While acknowledging Thomas' remorse, Gleeson slammed the Blues veteran in his summing up and added a large fine would resonate with players and fans.

"There is no graver insult or accusation to level at an umpire than to accuse him or her of cheating," Gleeson said.

"It strikes at the heart of the impartiality and fairness and integrity that umpires are required to bring to their role, do bring to their role and believe that they bring to their role."

The three-man jury took just four minutes to agree with Gleeson, who argued for a $10,000 fine reduced to $7500 for Thomas' guilty plea.

The Blues had argued for a $5000 fine.

"Umpires are an amazing part of our game. Without them, we wouldn't have a game. For me to do that, as an experienced player, it does not set a good example ... there will be no more of this in the future," Thomas said afterwards.

Jury members Paul Williams, Shane Wakelin and Wayne Henwood, later took 14 minutes before deciding to uphold Soldo's ban.

The Tigers tried to reduce the penalty to a fine, arguing the grading of intentional conduct should be lowered to careless for Soldo's forearm shove on Hawthorn midfielder James Worpel.

Australian Associated Press