No finals for Bombers, club chief hints

AFL's Andrew Demetriou has insisted he could not have told Essendon they were under investigation. (AAP)

Essendon chairman Paul Little has hinted the Bombers are working towards a possible quick resolution with the AFL over their supplements saga.

Essendon appear to be close to accepting a deal from the AFL to be stripped of premiership points and miss out on a place in next month's final series over their use of supplements.

Bombers' chairman Paul Little released a statement to members on the club's website on Friday apologising for mistakes made concerning governance issues and hinting the matter could be resolved very soon.

Essendon coach James Hird and three other club officials have been charged with bringing the league into disrepute.

Hird wants AFL chief Andrew Demetriou barred from sitting in any judgment of the AFL charges, saying he has a conflict of interest.

Hird on Thursday issued a Supreme Court writ against the AFL and also wants the charges heard by an independent body, not the AFL Commission.

But Little, who spoke so aggressively on Wednesday, is now telling members the Bombers know sanctions are coming.

"At yesterday's meeting of AFL Club chairmen and presidents, I stressed we wanted matters resolved but also that matters need to be concluded in a fair manner with charges and penalties that reflect the club's actual failings and the evidence," Little said on the site.

"We have made mistakes in terms of governance and people management, and we apologise for them.

"We also accept there will be AFL sanctions as a consequence but the evidence does not extend to drug cheating, and we're working to ensure that the charges and ultimate penalties reflect this.

"We will keep you updated with any developments over the coming days."

Little said the Bombers had taken on board the fact their members had urged the club to quickly resolve the charges laid against the Bombers.

"We share your view," Little said.

"The ongoing controversy is harmful to our players and their families, our officials, the club, other AFL clubs and the AFL itself.

"Despite the events of recent days, we believe these matters can be resolved before too long."

Fairfax Media reported on Friday night the Bombers had given ground in negotiations with the AFL and there's little chance Essendon will play finals next month, opening the door for a club outside the top eight to claim a berth.

Hird and football manager Danny Corcoran are facing possible suspensions while assistant coach Mark Thompson might avoid a ban, Fairfax Media reports.

The fourth official charged, club doctor Bruce Reid, might also face a possible suspension.

Hird was a late withdrawal from Essendon's 11.30am (AEST) media conference on Friday but was later quizzed by reporters as he left Windy Hill and denied he was planning to step aside.

Finals hopefuls Carlton, who would benefit from any move to strip Essendon of premiership points, host the Bombers in their round-22 clash at the MCG on Saturday night.

Hird has been under fire from a Melbourne radio talkback caller who claimed to be the mother of an Essendon player.

The woman had accused Hird of taking a "me, me, me" approach to the supplements scandal.

The woman told Melbourne's Triple M on Thursday her son was stressed out and considering quitting.

"The welfare of our players is something that we all hold in high regard and are very concerned about, so it was very concerning to hear it," Hird


"We are still trying to (make) contact and find out who that person is."

Essendon's 17 rival clubs on Thursday backed the league's stance that charges relating to Essendon's use of supplements should be heard by the AFL Commission and not by an outside tribunal.

Source: AAP