Fremantle president Dale Alcock has confirmed the AFL club is fully backing the under-fire coach Ross Lyon, putting an end to rumours they were considering sacking him.
“As a club we are fully committed to Ross as our senior coach and the recent media speculation does not in any way alter the board and the club’s commitment to Ross as senior coach of the Fremantle Dockers,” Alcock said in a statement on Friday.
Lyon’s future had been up in the air after he was named as the Fremantle official at the centre of a sexual harassment complaint. The AFL closed their case on the incident, deciding no further sanctions were required.
Pressure on him intensified on Thursday when it was revealed the club had referred a second complaint about him to the AFL’s integrity unit.
That complaint stemmed from an alleged incident in a Fremantle bar from several years ago.
However, the man who made the second complaint contacted the club on Thursday night and again on Friday morning to say he won’t take the matter further.
Lyon, Alcock and chief executive Steve Rosich fronted the media on Friday afternoon, with Lyon saying he “held no fears” about the future of his career.
“I understand there is a lot of hurt happening to our club, members and partners and the wider AFL, in particular my family, the complainant and other people with the allegations being aired,” Lyon said.
“This really saddens me. I’m really sorry to see this. However, I’m not in a position to comment any further on this matter due to strict privacy that was requested by all parties.
“Regarding the second allegation that was aired last night, there has been no complaint lodged and I encourage anyone who is aggrieved to go through the AFL integrity unit or any official authority where it is
“I hold no fears. This is important as I have built a strong reputation over 22 years of coaching in the AFL that I am proud of, and I’ll continue to protect it.”
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan confirmed on Friday that the league will not investigate that second incident because the complaint had been withdrawn.
Fremantle have called several emergency board meetings over the past week, fuelling rumours that Lyon’s job was in jeopardy.
It was even been reported that former assistant Peter Sumich was being lined up to take over from Lyon.
But Alcock said there were no plans to remove Lyon from his role, with the coach contracted until the end of 2020.
Alcock said Fremantle had learnt from its handling of the workplace matter earlier this year, and had worked on improving the club’s culture.
But the club’s culture was dealt another blow this week when it was revealed star midfielder Bradley Hill had a run-in with police last Sunday.
Hill was refused entry to a licensed premises in Scarborough about 10.30pm on Sunday because he had tried to jump a barrier to enter the venue.
The former Hawk is being investigated by police for breaching a police move-on notice issued at the time and giving police a false name.
Hill’s consumption of alcohol on the night also broke the team’s policy for injured players.
Fellow Dockers Michael Johnson, Brennan Cox, Luke Ryan, and Harley Bennell have also been in trouble for alcohol-related issues over the past 18 months.
McLachlan said on Friday morning he had not spoken to Fremantle about any integrity issues in the past 48 hours.
– with AAP