WorkSafe Victoria is urging anyone who experienced concerns at Hawthorn to come forward as the workplace safety watchdog launches an investigation into the AFL club over its alleged treatment of First Nations players.
An external review by the club detailed allegations that key figures at the club kept players away from their partners and encouraged one couple to terminate a pregnancy.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Alastair Clarkson releases statement.
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Four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson, former Hawks football boss Chris Fagan and staffer Jason Burt were all named in an ABC report detailing historic allegations from some Indigenous players.
Clarkson and Fagan have strongly denied the claims and have stood down from their positions at North Melbourne and Brisbane until the matter is resolved.
WorkSafe has been in contact with Hawthorn and will visit the club on Monday to conduct interviews.
“Every Victorian worker, no matter their cultural background, has the right to a healthy and safe workplace,” WorkSafe Victoria executive director Dr Narelle Beer said in a statement.
“WorkSafe takes allegations of workplace bullying and discrimination very seriously and can take enforcement action when employers fail to protect the mental health of those in their workplace.
“WorkSafe has commenced investigating the recent allegations relating to the Hawthorn Football Club.
“WorkSafe is urging anyone who experienced or witnessed health and safety concerns at Hawthorn Football Club to contact WorkSafe to make a statement.”
The WorkSafe probe will run separately to the investigation by the AFL, which will establish a four-person panel to look at the allegations.
The AFL still hasn’t finalised the panel despite initially saying it would be done before the grand final last week.
Outgoing Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett called the leaking of racism allegations at the club “unfair” and hopes the unfolding saga can be resolved by the end of the year.
Speaking at the club’s best and fairest awards function on Saturday night, Kennett said the club is not in crisis and has described the issue as a “bump along the highway”.
But he told the audience he was “somewhat flabbergasted – and worse” when he read the draft report of the club’s investigation into the experiences of Indigenous players and their partners while at Hawthorn.