The AFL Coaches’ Association has called on the league to add a former coach or at least a “well-credentialed current or former football administrator” to be part of the panel investigating shocking allegations levelled at coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan.
The pair have stepped away from their respective roles at North Melbourne and Brisbane to be part of the investigation having both vigorously denied the allegations levelled at them in a bombshell report made public last week.
A four-person independent panel, including former Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon, will be formed to complete the independent investigation into those claims made by unnamed former Hawthorn players.
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AFLCA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said it would be a good idea to potentially have a former coach involved.
“Football clubs are unique environments. They become a second home for players and coaches are often required to be much more than just football mentors,” he said in a statement released on Monday.
“Coaches are regularly called on to provide advice and support on non-football related issues, particularly with younger players who have left home to join an AFL club.
“It would significantly enhance the investigation if someone who intimately understands that environment and has deep experience in managing the wellbeing of players was included on the panel.
“The AFLCA fully endorses the AFL’s decision to investigate the confronting allegations raised. Our thoughts are with the players and their families who have shared their stories as well as other First Nations people who have been directly or indirectly affected by the publicity around this situation.
“We also note that both Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan have strongly denied the allegations made. The investigation will allow both coaches to share their version of events and until that investigation is complete and due process has been followed, they should be afforded natural justice.
“The AFLCA is continuing to offer both coaches our support with a focus on their personal wellbeing.”
On Sunday, Lions chairman Andrew Wellington emphatically backed Fagan, 61, who he labelled a “role model, a mentor and a father figure” as he said the club stood by the coach.
Clarkson’s November 1 start date as he takes over at North Melbourne has been deferred until the results of the investigation are released.