AFL selects panel to examine Hawthorn, Clarkson, racism claims

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The AFL has selected a panel to examine the historical allegations of racism levelled at Hawthorn and high-profile coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan.

Leading Victorian lawyer Bernard Quinn will head up a four-person panel that is due to report back to the AFL in December with public findings and recommendations.

The investigation will delve into a period between 2008 and 2016, and will run independently of the AFL.

"These are very serious allegations, and it is important that we have an independent panel that is able to hear the perspectives of all involved and to provide natural justice to those making the claims and those who have had claims made against them," AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said.

"It is also vitally important that the panel is able to complete its work independently of the AFL.

"Beyond this immediate investigation, we are open to listening to all the ideas that are being suggested however importantly for the short-term we need to run a proper independent process on these allegations, and we believe this investigation will help inform whatever we do next as an industry."

Clarkson has delayed his start as North Melbourne coach, and Fagan has taken leave from the Brisbane Lions after harrowing allegations surfaced via the ABC in September.

The explosive story claimed a former Hawthorn player alleged he was told by Clarkson, who was Hawthorn coach from 2005 to 2021, to terminate his partner's pregnancy.

The AFL said on Wednesday it does not know the players and families who disclosed the information to the ABC and through a Hawthorn club review.