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Lions stand behind ‘father figure’ Fagan after ‘distressing and difficult week’ amid racism allegations

Brisbane have vowed to stand behind coach Chris Fagan, amid an investigation into allegations of his treatment of First Nations players while at Hawthorn.

Fagan has taken leave from his duties after last week’s explosive report alleged his involvement in shocking treatment of past Hawks Indigenous players. He, then-Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson and player development manager Jason Burt were all named in the report.

In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, Lions chairman Andrew Wellington has expressed his and the club’s commitment to stand by Fagan, who has been senior coach at Brisbane since late 2016.

“Since Chris Fagan arrived at the Brisbane Lions in October 2016, he has been more than just our Head Coach. He has been a role model, a mentor, and a father figure,” the statement reads.

“He has played a key role in steering our Club into the strong position it’s in today; integral to our success on and off the field.

“In all of my dealings with Chris over the past six years, he has always made the welfare of our players and staff an utmost priority.

Chris Fagan of the Lions

Chris Fagan. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

“Chris has been a great supporter of all of our players and their families and has worked hard to ensure our Club provides a culturally safe environment for everyone.

“We stand by Chris as he commits himself to be part of the AFL investigation, which gives him procedural fairness, into allegations concerning historical events at the Hawthorn Football Club, where he was a former employee.

“Chris has categorically denied any wrongdoing. It has been a distressing and difficult week for Chris, his wife Ursula, and his family, as it has for many, and we strongly support his right to a fair, impartial, and independent investigative process.”

The AFL is in the process of establishing an investigation committee to look into the claims of racism detailed in the Hawthorn report, in which neither Fagan nor Clarkson were spoken to.

Fagan has categorically denied any accusations of wrongdoing during his time at the Hawks; according to journalist Caroline Wilson, the 61-year old has also specifically denied being at a meeting in which a former player claims Clarkson urged him to terminate his partner’s pregnancy.

Fagan led the Lions to a surprise preliminary final appearance in 2022, before being soundly beaten by eventual premiers Geelong.

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