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SBD Global/March 25, 2014/Franchises

Suspended Australian Football League Side Essendon Coach James Hird Remains In Limbo

Australian Football League side Essendon's board meeting on Monday "failed to resolve the future tenure of suspended coach James Hird, as club directors are still working through vexed issues involved in the fallout from the supplements scandal," according to Chip Le Grand of THE AUSTRALIAN. Hird's coaching career and "involvement in the game remains finely in the balance." The club is "determined to keep its deliberations in-house to prevent the issue further engulfing" its season. Essendon Chair Paul Little, who "took over the running of the club from David Evans in July last year, is caught in the now familiar position of having to placate senior figures" at AFL House while managing an "ongoing, acute sense of injustice felt by Hird and his wife, Tania" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/25). In Sydney, Caroline Wilson reported Hird has "attempted to distance himself from a series of scathing attacks on the AFL launched by his family in recent days." The Hirds are "continuing to examine" their legal options should the club sack Hird, "whose actions in pursuing, overseeing and failing to control the dangerous drug program of 2012 led to his club being charged with bringing the game into disrepute, stripped of early draft picks" and fined A$2M. There remains, however, "every chance that no final decision will be reached by the board on Hird this week with the club still awaiting potential infraction notices from the anti-doping authorities" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3/24).
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