BREAKING NEWS: Alastair Clarkson breaks his silence on Hawthorn probe amid claims he pushed Indigenous player to have his unborn child terminated as North Melbourne finally respond to scandal
Alastair Clarkson has refuted allegations pertaining to his conduct at Hawthorn after North Melbourne confirmed their new coach’s start time at the club would be delayed amid an AFL investigation.
Clarkson, 54, along with Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and former staffer Jason Burt, are the subject of allegations surrounding their handling of several Indigenous players and their families during their time at Hawthorn.
A report by ABC Sport claims that the review, commissioned by Hawthorn, contains allegations pertaining to Clarkson demanding that one player urge his partner to terminate their pregnancy and end their relationship.
Alastair Clarkson has broken his silence in the wake of allegations made against him
And now Clarkson has made his first statement in the wake of the allegations, insisting he was ‘shocked’ by the claims made against him and refuted them.
‘The health, care and welfare of our players, staff and their families were always my highest priorities during my time at Hawthorn Football Club,’ Clarkson said.
‘I was therefore shocked by the extremely serious allegations reported in the media earlier today. I was not interviewed by the authors of the report commissioned by the club, nor have I been provided with a copy of the report.
‘I was not afforded any due process and I refute any allegation of wrongdoing or misconduct and look forward to the opportunity to be heard as part of the AFL external investigation.
An ABC report claims that a Hawthorn investigation contains serious allegations
Clarkson’s new club North Melbourne have delayed the 54-year-old’s start time in November
‘I have today contacted the President of North Melbourne Football Club and we have mutually agreed that I will step back from my responsibilities at the club so I can fully cooperate in the investigation.’
Earlier, North Melbourne confirmed that Clarkson’s start date with the club – previously scheduled for November 1 – has been pushed back.
‘The North Melbourne Football Club is aware of serious historical allegations made against individuals who worked at the Hawthorn Football Club, including incoming North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson,’ the statement read.
‘The matters raised are now with the AFL’s Integrity Unit and Alastair welcomes the opportunity to co-operate with any investigation relating to the claims.
Brisbane Lions boss Chris Fagan has taken a ‘leave of absence’ amid the AFL’s investigation
‘Alastair was due to commence work with North Melbourne on November 1 however he will delay the start of his tenure to allow time to fully participate in the investigation.
‘Given the matters raised are confidential and the investigation is ongoing, the club will not provide any further comment at this time.’
North’s statement follows an announcement by Brisbane that Fagan is taking a ‘leave of absence’ from the club so he can ‘fully cooperate’ with an independent investigation that has been announced by the AFL.
Fagan has been left devastated by the accusations and said he had no knowledge of the alleged meetings raised by players in the report, according to the Herald Sun.
A Hawks player who is named only as ‘Ian’ in the ABC report made startling accusations against the team’s most senior coaches.
Clarkson (pictured with Luke Hodge celebrating Hawthorn’s 2014 premiership win) is alleged to have been part of a group of senior coaches that told an Indigenous player to get his partner to abort their child, and break up with her
‘Clarkson just leaned over me and demanded that I needed to get rid of my unborn child and partner,’ he claimed.
‘I was then manipulated and convinced to remove my SIM card from my phone so there was no further contact between my family and me.
‘He told me to kill my unborn child.’
It’s alleged Ian’s partner Amy was left in a state of deep shock when she heard the news.
‘He could barely get the words out and he seemed to be crying, and he quickly said that we needed to terminate the pregnancy and end the relationship,’ she said in the report.
Amy further claimed the club cut her off from Ian – leaving her unable to call or text him – for the first five months of her pregnancy, which impacted his mental health.