A simmering feud has broken out between the AFL and Hawthorn over the club’s racism scandal that is being investigated by an independent panel.
7NEWS reporter Tom Browne has revealed that, according to his sources, the AFL is increasingly frustrated with Hawthorn’s handling of the issue.
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But with less than a week left on his presidency at Hawthorn, the outgoing Jeff Kennett is having none of it.
Kennett has hit back at frustrations from AFL House, while also questioning the commitment of a rival board challenger.
The high-profile figures at the centre of the scandal are AFL coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan. Both of them have denied any wrongdoing and Browne said they “won’t know their fate for some time”.
With the investigation set to extend well into the new year, Kennett has revealed a key reason behind the delay, saying it is definitely not the club’s fault.
“The four-person panel is actually going to move interstate to interview some of these people, so it’s going to take a lot longer than we had hoped.,” Kennett said.
“But we (also) want to see it done properly.
“I think the AFL have tried to blame us for the outcomes.
“The reality is we will never – nor should the AFL – ever shy away from being prepared to question both their existing and past employees.“
Kennett’s tenure as president officially ends next Tuesday night and he’s again queried candidate Andy Gowers’ membership record.
Gowers is a former premiership player for the club and was angered by the board when when it named fellow member Peter Nankivell as Kennett’s successor. When that decision was made, Gowers set up a group called ‘Hawks for Change’ and also decided to run for presidency.
“The other candidate (Gowers) doesn’t have the experience,” Kennett told 7NEWS.
“And sadly, he hasn’t maintained his membership within the club since … 2017. He has only paid up for one year.”
But Gowers has hit back at such criticisms and pointed to his premiership experience.
“If I’m elected, for example, I would be the only person on the board with any premiership experience,” Gowers recently told The Age.
“I’m a past player, I’m a past board member. I was lucky enough to play in a flag in 1991 and was involved from the end of the three-peat, 2014, 2015.
“So look, people have said to me you have premiership DNA. That’s something that does separate me from my opponent.”
Kennett said he was supportive of a dedicated team in Tasmania but, with the AFL insisting on a local stadium, the former premier has revealed clubs are now waiting on another business case.
“The Tasmanian Government is putting in the lion’s share (of funding for the stadium) but there is still probably another $350-550 million to complete it.”
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