Former Essendon chief executive Andrew Thorburn has reportedly hired legal counsel and reserving his right to sue the club over his controversial exit.
Thorburn quit the top job at the Bombers barely 24 hours after being appointed, with the 57-year-old’s role as chairman of the controversial City on a Hill church, which holds anti-gay and anti-abortion stances acting as, the club said, “direct contradiction to our values as a club”.
Both The Age and Herald Sun have since reported Thorburn has hired legal counsel over his departure.
Furphy has made the commitment to provide equal support to its AFL and AFLW teams. Don’t support the AFLW? Unbelievable.
Adelaide will host AFL ‘magic round’ | 00:37
The Herald Sun reports Thorburn’s potential legal battle is mostly motivated by a desire for the club to apologise for the way he was treated.
Additionally, the report says, a payment may be on the table after contact between Thorburn’s legal team and the club, while Thorburn was due to be paid more than $850,000 a year in the job.
The Age reports negotiations between the two parties had been ongoing for weeks, but that Thorburn’s position had hardened in recent times, with the former NAB boss believing he is a victim of religious discrimination and damage to his reputation.
Thorburn initially ran Essendon’s review of the board and football club before ultimately replacing outgoing CEO Xavier Campbell, albeit briefly.
Essendon president David Barham admitted the club had not initially been aware of some of the church’s radical anti-gay and anti-abortion stances.
“Basically this morning when the comments came out, I went and saw him and it became really clear that Andrew couldn‘t be chairman of that church with those views and CEO of the Essendon Football Club,” Barham said in October.
“In the end, Andrew decided that he would stay with his church and he couldn’t be CEO.”