Sunday , October 1 2023

Clarkson, Fagan cleared as AFL wraps up Hawks probe

The AFL has reached an agreement with the families involved in the allegations of historical racism at Hawthorn, with no case found against Alastair Clarkson, Chris Fagan and Jason Burt.

In a statement released on Tuesday night, the AFL said a deal had been reached and the eight-month investigation would wrap up.

The investigation was into allegations that took place between 2008 and 2015, a period which saw Hawthorn win four AFL premierships.

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Clarkson, Fagan and Burt were accused of mistreating First Nations players at the club, but all categorically denied the allegations.

While an agreement has been reached with the families involved, the AFL confirmed that it could still charge Hawthorn “with respect to the commissioning and oversight” of the report into the club’s culture.

At a press conference announcing the decision, AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan didn’t specify what rule Hawthorn could be charged under.

”That will be a decision for the general counsel and/or the commission, obviously there’s a broad range of rules (like) conduct unbecoming or bringing the game in to disrepute,” he said.

“I’m not pre-empting it but I’m certainly not ruling that out.”

McLachlan added the decision-making behind whether Hawthorn would be charged or not will start “in a reasonably expeditious manner”. 

The CEO was also asked if the AFL would support complainants taking their matters to the federal court.

“We support all parties doing whatever they want to do from here,” McLachlan said.

McLachlan further added it’s been “one of the most challenging things” he’s seen in the AFL, stating “it was always going to be a difficult period ahead” after the report was leaked to media. 

He said there was no financial component in relation to the AFL’s decision.

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