Essendon chairman Paul Little has said if players are found guilty of doping, James Hird’s future at the club would be decided not by management, but by the 60,000 club members.
Little told The Herald Sun “I think myself, along with the board and those other key components, and coaching maybe one of those — in fact it would be — I think the membership would need to decide how they wanted the club to move forward.”
“It’s too big a decision for the board to be making in its own right. It’s not because it’s too hard, but because it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Little’s comments follow comments against Hird returning as coach for 2015 from Bill Jennings, one of nine people running for the Essendon board to be decided on December 8, .
In a blog post Jennings said: “James Hird has to be more responsible for the mess our club is in.”
“He has to take some responsibility for deciding to go down the supplements regime path. It doesn’t, in one sense, really matter what the final outcomes are. The damage scattered behind us is substantial.”
He says Hird’s time at the club has left to much of an impact on the club.
“The players will be under medical surveillance for some years to come because there is uncertainty about what they were administered,” he said and now Essendon has “a debt to the tune of several million dollars.
“James Hird was definitely one of the catalysts that started us on this course, but he could now be the circuit breaker and the reason that the healing begins.”
An AFL anti-doping tribunal hearing is expected to commence as early as December 15 to decide whether the Essendon players are guilty of using the banned peptide Thymosin beta-4, in 2012.
So far the saga has seen Essendon fined $2 million for bringing the game into disrepute, and paying an estimated $700,000 to Hird during his suspension. It has forked out $1 million in legal bills and settled on $1 million for the case of Dean Robinson, the former high performance boss, as well as paying him almost six months of his wage after he was stood down.
Hird’s Federal Court appeal is still pending and is expected to be heard in January.
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