A former assistant coach at Hawthorn corroborated some of the shocking allegations made in the club’s review into its treatment of Indigenous players, a report claims.
Ex-Hawks coach Chris Fagan has joined club legend Alastair Clarkson in denying any wrongdoing in the AFL racism scandal, saying he is ‘deeply distressed’ about allegations that threaten his coaching career.
Both coaches say they will co-operate with the AFL’s independent investigation into racism claims from their time at Hawthorn, described as ‘sickening’ by the federal government.
The racism allegations were reported by the ABC on Wednesday, following an investigation commissioned by Hawthorn earlier in the year.
Among the many allegations made by unnamed former Hawthorn players, Fagan and Clarkson were accused of telling a player and his partner to terminate their pregnancy and separate so the player could focus on football.
An assistant coach backed some of the accusations First Nations players made as part of information he gave to the club’s external review, according to a report in the Herald Sun.
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest the information the assistant coach provided to the review proves any of the allegations.
The AFL is set to appoint a four-person panel of investigators, led by a King’s Counsel, with league boss Gillon McLachlan hopeful the panel will be finalised before Saturday’s grand final.
Legal experts believe Hawthorn will be dragged before the courts if the accusations are proven true.
‘Litigation on several fronts will follow, there’s no question of that – not only the direct participants but their family members,’ veteran player agent Peter Jess – who has launched legal action against the AFL previously – told The Age.
‘In my opinion, the fact that there’s been no action, no pathways for them to seek safe harbour to have this dealt with properly, is the biggest failing inside the AFL.’
Clarkson and Fagan have both categorically denied any wrongdoing during their time with the club, when the Hawks won four premierships.
‘I intend to defend myself,’ Fagan said in his statement on Thursday.
‘It is my hope that people will judge me based upon the way I actually conduct myself and not by what is written in the media.
‘I intend to participate fully in the investigation and look forward to being heard and being accorded due process and fairness.’
Clarkson’s November 1 start in his new coaching role with North Melbourne has been delayed due to the AFL’s investigation, and Fagan has stood down as head coach of the Brisbane Lions in light of the allegations.