Essendon chairman Paul Little has confirmed today that James Hird will return to the club on August 25, but not as coach.
Little says after meeting with Hird, general manager of football performance Neil Craig, CEO Xavier Campbell and head coach Mark Thompson the decision to employ Hird in a preparation and planning role was made with in the best interests of the club and the players in mind.
“As a result, we have all agreed that when James is eligible to return to the club on 25 August, James’ focus will be entirely on the 2015 season – he will not be in the coaching box or have an active coaching role at training,” Little said.
“In that time period between 25 August until our final game of the season, James will take the opportunity to begin planning the upcoming pre-season, list management, recruiting and preparation for 2015 away from the club.”
Hird says he is excited to be back.
“As much as I would dearly love to have jumped straight back into working with the team, I am determined that whatever role I play should in no way act as a distraction from the 2014 campaign,” he said. “I am excited about the future for our club and look forward to getting back involved.”
Hird was banned from working at any AFL club in any capacity for 12 months after being associated with the ASADA investigation of Essendon’s alleged use of banned supplements in 2012.
Essendon currently sits at 7th on the ladder.
Read the full statement here.
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