North Melbourne manager Alastair Clarkson has left the country as investigations into historic racism allegations against him and former club Hawthorn begin.
7NEWS reporter Mitch Cleary revealed that Clarkson, who has flown to Scotland to spend a week with Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, could return to the club sooner than expected.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Mitch Cleary shares the latest information on Clarkson.
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“I’m going to take a professional development trip overseas and just rely on the AFL to let us know what’s going on with the investigation,” Clarkson told 7NEWS Melbourne.
“We’ve been saying the whole time, (Chris) Fages, Jason (Burt), myself, ready to defend ourselves at the earliest opportunity.”
Clarkson’s original start date was set to be pushed back beyond November 1 pending the inquest, but North Melbourne President Sonja Hood told 7NEWS she hopes the champion coach begins his new job sooner than expected.
“We hope he will start on November 1st, subject to the brief and his ability to participate in the process,” she said.
“We’ve seen a design process, but we don’t have a lot of visibility into what the process is.”
In a letter to Kangaroos members earlier Friday, Hood said the club was “taking an active role” in discussions with the AFL about Clarkson’s start date.
“While we cannot comment on the allegations or the AFL’s trial, it is important to note that the way events have unfolded over the past two weeks has caused harm to our club and our staff – our players ( Indigenous and non-Indigenous), our staff, our members, and of course, Alastair itself,” Hood wrote.
“Regardless of our next course of action, looking after our people is the club’s top priority and we will continue to do so.
“The board is extremely grateful to our player leaders and club leadership team for the leadership role they have all played at a very difficult time for our club.
“We didn’t create this problem, but now we have to deal with it, and the unity and diligence in our response is a testament to our people.”
North signed Clarkson to a five-year deal before ABC aired historic racism allegations last month.
The allegations center on Clarkson’s time at Hawthorn between 2005-21 with then-football manager Chris Fagan, who was also named in an ABC report alleging racist behavior at the Hawks.
Clarkson and Fagan, who has stepped down from his role as manager of the Brisbane Lions, deny any wrongdoing.
The AFL has appointed a four-person independent panel to investigate the claims that emerged as Hawthorn reviewed her treatment of Indigenous players.
A test result is expected in December.
– with AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/alastair-clarkson-jets-off-to-scotland-as-north-melbourne-make-massive-move-on-potential-start-date-c-8547171 Alastair Clarkson flies to Scotland while North Melbourne massively pushes possible launch date