James Hird Keeps Bombers Coaching Job Despite Wife's TV Outburst

Suspended Bombers coach James Hird and his wife wife Tania Hird last year on their way to an AFL Commission Hearing. Photo Michael Dodge/Getty

Suspended Essendon AFL coach James Hird will keep his job and return to the Club as coach in 2015 and 2016, after he received the backing of the Board during a crisis meeting held earlier today.

Last Thursday night, with her husband overseas, Tania Hird appeared on ABC TV’s 7.30 and claimed that retiring AFL boss Andrew Demetriou had tipped off the Bombers about investigations into the club’s drugs program. The outburst led to speculation that the coach, currently suspended by the AFL over performance-enhancing drug use, would lose his job.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Club Chairman Paul Little said the Board understood the “strain and pressure the Hird family has been under for more than a year – James and Tania have endured a great deal”. But in what sounded like a final warning to the coach, Little added “The Board has sought assurances from James and Tania in relation to future conduct the Club deems appropriate under James’ contract of employment”.

He said the Board was “extremely disappointed” by Mrs Hird’s appearance on 7.30 and the stress it caused around the club.

“During the last week we have spent a significant amount of time speaking with James and Tania with particular emphasis on the events of last week. It is clear to the Board that the Hird family sincerely regret the unintended significant distraction this has caused for our Club,” he said.

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