Tania Hird tells it like it is:
James took a 12-month suspension because he was threatened. The club was threatened; he was threatened. In the end the club said it was in the best interests of the club. We need to move on, which is what we did.
The important bit is this (emphasis added):
“Of course he’s being paid, that was the deal,” Ms Hird told a reporter from the Herald Sun. “Andrew Demetriou knew it; the AFL knew it.
We wouldn’t have taken a sanction without pay; we would have taken the AFL to the Supreme Court and they knew that. Demetriou knew that. In my opinion it’s time for the AFL to stop threatening my husband, it’s time for them to stop threatening the club, and it’s time for them to stop distorting the truth.”
So either Demitriou didn’t know what the deal was, and the AFL has a severe corporate governance problem, or Demitriou lied when he said he would be going to his grave knowing that James Hird wasn’t being paid, and the AFL has a severe corporate governance problem.
In the meantime the allegations of threats and suggestions that payments be made off the books imply a poor corporate culture if not actual criminality.
Update: The AFL have announced it will withhold cartel payments until Essendon comply with cartel rules.
THE AFL has sensationally announced it is holding back payments to Essendon until it explains why it continues to pay the salary of suspended coach James Hird.
The Herald Sun understands the amount being withheld is equal to Hird’s salary, believed to be about $84,000 a month.