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Hawks ask AFL to close off Clarkson deal loophole

Hawthorn went to the AFL to ensure that the Hawks would not be paying a huge chunk of Alastair Clarkson’s contract next year if the four-time premiership coach crossed to Carlton or Collingwood.

The Hawks, who have a deal to pay Clarkson $900,000 for his 2022 contract, were concerned that the Blues or the Magpies could strike a deal to deliberately underpay Clarkson – paying him, say $400,000 next year – and then loading up the contract in the second or third season, with the Hawks forced to pay much of the balance of the $900,000 owed because of their termination agreement.

The AFL clarified that they would not allow a deal to be struck that was not “in the spirit” of the soft cap on football spending – in effect, the AFL confirmed that another club, such as Carlton, could not exploit Hawthorn’s payout Clarkson to create a higher spend on their football department over two or three seasons.

Alastair Clarkson.

Alastair Clarkson.Credit:Getty Images

The AFL’s position is beneficial to Hawthorn should Clarkson decide to join either Carlton or Collingwood, both of which are expected to either make him an offer or sound him out about his interest in their coaching positions. The AFL has allowed Hawthorn to pay Clarkson $450,000 over two seasons if necessary to accommodate his payout, but the payout is mitigated if he takes another job in the AFL system.

Carlton insiders expect the club hierarchy to be in contact with Clarkson or his management over the coming days and to make a pitch for his services, even though they are yet to make a call on incumbent coach David Teague, who is set to meet with the club board on Wednesday.

Club insiders have told The Age they expect a final decision to be made on the coach by the end of Wednesday.

Ex-St Kilda and Fremantle coach Ross Lyon also has been very much in the frame at Carlton, having confirmed his interest in the position if Teague is moved on.

The Carlton board met via video link on Tuesday evening and were expected to meet again at the club on Wednesday, when Teague would be present.

New president Luke Sayers has been adamant that members will be provided details of the review and the recommendations before they are released to the media.

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