The AFL tried to induce Essendon and James Hird to accept drugs scandal penalties days before the AFL Commission hearing, according to a News Corp Australia report.
Documents and an email, obtained by News Corp, reportedly show deals were struck between sports official John Wylie and the football club before the August 26 hearing in the wake of the Bombers supplements scandal.
Hird was allegedly offered the opportunity for career development if he dropped legal action against the AFL, the report claims.
On August 23, Wylie allegedly sent an email to Essendon chairman Paul Little suggesting a 12-month suspension for Hird from all coaching duties.
“To the best of the AFL’s knowledge and belief, Hird did not promote or encourage an unethical environment within the club; Hird has not brought the game into disrepute,” Wylie reportedly said in the email.
He said Hird was to take responsibility for “inadequate governance and oversight” that gave rise to the situation.
“In the totality of the circumstances, the AFL will impose, and Hird will accept, a 12-month suspension from all coaching duties.”
In a separate document given to Hird, during talks with Wylie and Little, he is offered “an outstanding career development opportunity” if he drops legal action against the AFL.
Essendon were ultimately fined $2 million and missed the AFL finals as punishment.