Hawthorn coach accuses Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan of ‘running team like the Russian mafia’

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Hawthorn coach accuses Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan of ‘running team like the Russian mafia’ – as ex-player claims he was left so scarred by Hawks he had ‘multiple suicide attempts’

  • Former head coach and assistant Fagan accused of severe bullying, intimidation 
  • It’s claimed Hawks review found treatment of Indigenous players ‘amounted to human rights abuses’
  • First Nations ex-player ‘attempted suicide’ due to trauma from time with team 
  • If you need support, contact Lifeline 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 

A Hawthorn coach has claimed Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan ran the team’s football department ‘like the Russian mafia’ as part of evidence given to the club’s review into its relationships with Indigenous players, it has been reported.

The review has reportedly heard harrowing accusations from First Nations footballers, including one who alleges Clarkson and Fagan urged him to tell his partner to abort their child and break up with her.

It’s claimed another player told the review that his time with the team left him so traumatised he had ‘multiple suicide attempts’ and ‘multiple stays in the mental health unit at the hospital’, according to a report in the Herald Sun.

Clarkson (left) and Fagan (pictured together while with Hawthorn in 2016) are among senior Hawks officials accused of running the club's football department 'like the Russian mafia'

Clarkson (left) and Fagan (pictured together while with Hawthorn in 2016) are among senior Hawks officials accused of running the club’s football department ‘like the Russian mafia’

It's claimed Hawthorn's review into the treatment of Indigenous players during Clarkson and Fagan's time with the team found the club's actions 'amount to human rights abuses'

It’s claimed Hawthorn’s review into the treatment of Indigenous players during Clarkson and Fagan’s time with the team found the club’s actions ‘amount to human rights abuses’

Other Indigenous players have accused senior Hawks coaches of involvement in separating them from friends and family in a pattern of what they allege to be racist behaviour.

Clarkson and Fagan have both categorically denied all the allegations and said they look forward to clearing their names in the AFL’s independent investigation into the matter, with the former insisting he was blindsided by the accusations and was not afforded due process.

The unnamed Hawks coach told the review that Clarkson, Fagan, general manager Mark Evans and former player development manager Jason Burt ‘operated the football department like the Russian mafia’ and ostracised anyone who questioned their methods, according to the report.

Hawthorn's incredible run of success under Clarkson (pictured celebrating the team's 2014 grand final win) took place while senior officials at the club were allegedly involved in the 'bullying and intimidation' of First Nations footballers

Hawthorn’s incredible run of success under Clarkson (pictured celebrating the team’s 2014 grand final win) took place while senior officials at the club were allegedly involved in the ‘bullying and intimidation’ of First Nations footballers

The report also claims the coach said ‘I knew this day would come’ when he was contacted by the authors of the review.

It’s claimed the club’s probe found that Clarkson, Fagan and Burt bullied and intimidated Indigenous players, who were treated so badly the incidents ‘amount to human rights abuses’.

The report states that the review was told two players’ partners lost their unborn children during the events that led to the accusations.

One player who alleges the club prevented him from seeing newborn daughter until she was four months old told the probe he is still reeling from the trauma of his time at the club, which has left him ‘extremely unwell’ and on a disability support pension.

Both Clarkson and Fagan have categorically denied all the accusations and stated they look forward to clearing their names in the AFL's independent investigation into the matter

Both Clarkson and Fagan have categorically denied all the accusations and stated they look forward to clearing their names in the AFL’s independent investigation into the matter

Former Hawks player development manager Jason Burt (pictured) has also strenuously denied the allegations against him and slammed the club for not letting him see a copy of the report

Former Hawks player development manager Jason Burt (pictured) has also strenuously denied the allegations against him and slammed the club for not letting him see a copy of the report

‘I have had multiple suicide attempts, multiple stays in the mental health unit at the hospital … [it’s] because of the way the club treated me and my family,’ it’s claimed he told the review.

It’s claimed another Indigenous footballer told the probe Clarkson shocked and insulted him during a visit to his home by telling him to invite his teammates over because ‘for all they know you’re living in a shack in the desert’.

One player’s partner told the probe Clarkson, Fagan and Burt came to her home without warning and went on to ‘intimidate, trap and bully me full well knowing I’m carrying a child’, leaving her in ‘complete agony’ afterwards, it was reported.

On Tuesday, Burt released a statement strenuously denying the allegations against him.

 

‘I wish to categorically deny the conduct attributed to me in the media. It is difficult to comment more fully in circumstances where I have never seen the report despite my lawyer asking the Hawthorn Football Club and the AFL for a copy,’ he said.

 

 

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