HAWTHORN premiership coach Alastair Clarkson wants reform to the League’s coaching ranks, including mandatory licences, to ensure there is no repeat of the Essendon supplements scandal.
Clarkson believes licences to coach should be compulsory and that by 2020, every senior coach should have coached his own team for at least two years.
He has outlined details of his recommendations put to the AFL Coaches Association and has said it was the role of the AFL to put these regulations in place.
"We need to ensure [the supplements scandal] never happens in our game again. It's too easy to sweep it under the carpet and hope it's never going to happen again," Clarkson told Fairfax Media.
"Next time it could be illicit drugs or young girls in night clubs. It comes down to having the right systems and protocols in place.
"’Hirdy' (Essendon coach James Hird) needs accreditation to coach under-nines but not an AFL footy team. It really concerns me that the game doesn't protect itself in the way, say, the teaching industry does."
But Clarkson's comments appear to have added more fuel to the fierce rivalry between Hawthorn and Essendon.
On Tuesday afternoon the Bombers' chairman, Paul Little, wrote an open letter to the club's members in which he stated: "The comments made by Clarkson relating to James Hird are neither helpful nor informed.
"The events of the ASADA investigation into the previous supplements program are very complex matters and the report is still to be finalised.
"We have no doubt James Hird is the right person to coach the Essendon Football Club and we look forward to his return to the club later this year.
"James appreciates the ongoing support he has received from other AFL coaches and the AFL Coaches' Association."
Clarkson is a former teacher and came through the coaching ranks with stints in the VFL and SANFL.
He is now entering his 10th season at Hawthorn and has recently spent two weeks at Harvard Business School.
Clarkson was asked to present his views to the AFL Commission on Monday in Sydney.
He said under his blueprint for becoming an AFL coach, Hird would have not have been allowed to coach Essendon without accreditation and two years' coaching experience.
He also said he believed coaches had more to offer than simply self-interest in governing the game.
"I know there will be a view which says 'Button your lip Clarkson. This doesn't involve you. Concentrate on Hawthorn and don't worry about other clubs," he said.
"For too long, coaches have had that attitude or felt they should. For too long, we've said nothing. We need to speak up about this.
"We're only temporary custodians. We're just here to protect the game and pass the baton on to the next generation and ensure it is in a good state.
"We've just got to make sure that things like what happened last year must never be allowed to ambush the game again, to tarnish what is a great game.
"The game doesn't protect itself from over-zealous board members who become fixated on the idea of a club legend or a star player becoming their coach with no experience."
Clarkson is also disappointed over reports of the AFLCA visiting and working with Hird, following suggestions that it sympathised with the coach’s plight and felt he'd been hard done by.
"That was not my view, not many of the other coaches' view," Clarkson said.
"I'd like to (talk with James Hird) at some stage, but now is probably not the time.
"The time we could have had an influence was half-way through the year, but unfortunately that didn't happen."
Clarkson said he felt for AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou and the way he came under fire at times for the way the League handled last year's saga.
"He was trying to do the right thing by the game. He and Mike [Fitzpatrick] were trying to protect the game, the code and all of us in the game, and he was treading a pathway through a minefield. There were landmines all over the place.
"It affected all of us and it forced us to look at ourselves and what we could learn from it at Hawthorn.
"Coaches are pretty resilient, but it was more to do with the wider damage to the game. We have a great game and it was ambushed and it could have been avoided."
Three-time Brisbane Lions premiership captain Michael Voss, who stepped into the club's senior coaching role with no previous experience of the top job, was another casualty in 2013.
Clarkson said he had also been influenced by a recent visit to St George's Park in the UK, where he visited the English Football Association's national football centre for coaching and development.
He said the centre was something he believed the AFL could use as a model.