Essendon AFL assistant coach Mark Thompson says Monday’s talks with the AFL Commission have failed to reach a decision on penalties for the club’s officials over the supplements scandal, with talks to resume on Tuesday.
Essendon coach James Hird, his lawyer Julian Burnside and Bombers officials Thompson, Danny Corcoran and Bruce Reid met with the AFL Commission as speculation mounted that their fate and that of the club over the supplements saga was close.
Hird, assistant coach Thompson, football manager Corcoran and club doctor Reid have been charged, along with their club, with bringing the game into disrepute.
“We’re starting up tomorrow morning again at 10,” Burnside told reporters at AFL House on Monday night.
Thompson said if Hird was banned for the 2014 season, he’d find it difficult to come back.
“If he was to lose 12 months it’d be disastrous,” Thompson told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 program.
“He’s a young coach who is learning his way and he didn’t deliberately set out to do anything wrong.
“I would think if the AFL knocked him out for 12 months, he would struggle to want to get back.”
Thompson, a two-time Geelong premiership coach, said he hadn’t considered a possible one-year role as head coach in Hird’s absence.
“It hasn’t been offered to me. It hasn’t been talked about,“ Thompson said.
“James is our coach and we’re going to try everything we can to help him ... get a fair sanction for what he’s done.”
Thompson said he was locked away in a room at AFL House with his lawyers from about 1pm to 6pm.
“We’ve just been negotiating all day basically,” Thompson said, adding his case was nowhere near being resolved.
“We’ll be back in tomorrow. I’m not sure if the Essendon deal (between the club and the AFL) will get done tonight,” he said.
“I just turn up tomorrow in my suit, go back in my little office and try to negotiate another deal.”
Asked if he was prepared to plead guilty for a certain penalty, Thompson said: “I am.”
However he added he wanted to fight 80 per cent of the allegations on the AFL’s 34-page charge sheet.
“At the moment it’s a fine,” Thompson said of his possible penalty.
“But if we don’t agree to it, to what the AFL are handing out, then that might be off the table and go back to suspension or whatever it is.“I’ve been charged on being a drug cheat and I’m not. I’m fighting for my reputation.”