Signed pact is all that matters

James Hird's public relations team maintains that the only agreement the parties could be bound by is the deed signed by both the Hird camp and the AFL when the coach agreed to a 12-suspension in late August.

As the feud between Essendon, Hird and the AFL intensified over the issue of whether Hird was still being paid by the Bombers, the AFL on Thursday revealed it had written to the club twice in the past week, seeking assurances it was upholding the agreed terms of Hird's suspension.

Ian Hanke, a spokesman for the suspended coach, said any subsequent agreements were clearly not binding.

“There is only one legal agreement and that is the deed that was signed on August 27,” Hanke told 3AW.

“So these post deed conversations have, as far as I understand it, no legal weight.

"Anything else, it doesn't matter what you talk about, it's only going to be pub talk, because it's not relevant to this deed."

Hanke was unimpressed with the AFL's latest move to withhold payments to the Essendon Football Club until the club stops paying his client.

“To me, that raises serious issues about the governance of the AFL and the way it operates,” he said.

“I think that the tenor of this debate is turning now on to the AFL.

“You could that the AFL is actually bringing the game into disrepute because of its poor governance.”

Hanke went on the front foot when attacking the "backroom" deals that saw Hird agree to the suspension.

"It's gone from a so-called drugs scandal, to one of corporate governance," he said.

"The issue had been so overhyped and so beaten up by the AFL from the very outset, that they needed a scalp, they needed some optics.

“The only one they could get in the end was Mr Hird.

"They wanted the suspension that he was given to appear to be more than what it was.

"And when it was found out that Mr Hird had got a 12-month suspension and was being paid as per his contract, the AFL and Mr Demetriou over-reacted.”

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