The AFL gave permission for Essendon to interview their suspended coach James Hird on their in-house TV show.
League chief Andrew Demetriou, who has received widespread criticism in the media and from the Hird camp over his handling of Essendon’s supplements saga, said on Wednesday he had no problems with the interview on FoxFooty’s “The Hangar”.
Demetriou said league officials were contacted several weeks ago regarding the interview, which was broadcast on Tuesday night.
“They said, would it be OK to do that interview, and I advised Essendon chairman Paul Little … that there was no issue about breaching the agreement,” Demetriou told reporters.
“He conducted a pretty straight up and down interview that appeared on The Hangar last night and we saw no issue with it.”
Hird’s 12-month suspension expires in August 2014, on the eve of what Essendon hope will be a finals campaign.
Essendon were banned from last year’s finals as part of the AFL’s sanctions over its controversial 2012 supplements program which were imposed in August 2013.
Hird said he felt his return wouldn’t distract the club and he declared he wouldn’t take the senior coaching role away from Mark “Bomber” Thompson for this season’s finals.
Hird’s former assistant Thompson has been appointed on a one-year deal, however Hird’s suspension ends before the completion of the season.
“This season, it’s pretty clear to Bomber and myself that Bomber’s the coach for 2014 and once season 2014 finishes in terms of our last game, then I’ll take over as head coach,” Hird said.
Hird didn’t discuss details of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency’s inquiry into the club’s 2012 supplements program which is ongoing.
He said he was counting down the days until he could start working on the club’s 2015 pre-season campaign.
“One of the advantages, if there are any, of not being the head coach for 2014 is really getting a headstart for 2015 over every other club,” Hird said.
That included list management and preparing for the trade and draft periods.
“If Bomber needs anything to help him around the place, I’d love to help,” Hird added.
“I can’t see where there’d be a distraction in that.
“The players are clear, I’m clear, Bomber’s clear and our supporters are pretty clear, so I think they’re really the people that matter.”