IMMEDIATE court action in the Essendon supplements scandal has been averted, but next Monday's Commission hearing is unlikely to resolve the case against James Hird.
Lawyers for the AFL responded to Hird's representatives as a Monday 5pm deadline passed on a list of demands surrounding charges against the coach.
AFL.com.au understands the League advised Hird's legal team that the matter would not have to be heard in full at next Monday's hearing.
"It would appear that the AFL has certainly blinked in these negotiations," Hird's spokesman told AFL.com.au.
"They wanted this whole issue dealt with as soon as possible.
"They have now moved away from that position, they're saying that the AFL will not seek to hold a hearing against any party that doesn't think it has had the time to prepare.
Assistant coach Mark Thompson also confirmed on Monday evening that he would not have to front next week's hearing.
"I'm not sure what the consequences are. We don't have to turn up," he told Fox Footy's AFL 360.
"It's not off - we have to go some time."
Thompson said that he was upset he had been charged by the League and vowed to fight to clear his name, declaring he had nothing to fear from "90 per cent" of the charges.
"Probably 80 per cent of it, 90 per cent easily - I would say, there's no way I'm responsible for that, I'm not going to accept that," he said.
However, Thompson repeated his stance that he and other key Essendon officials bore some responsibility for the plight the Bombers found themselves in.
It's understood the letter from the AFL to Hird's lawyers refers to 'all parties', making it unclear what it means for the rest of Monday's hearing, which is also scheduled to hear charges against Danny Corcoran and Dr Bruce Reid.
But Hird's camp is standing by its demands for an independent, open hearing and for AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou to remove himself from the process.
"From our position, the procedural issues are still very much alive. The AFL Commission shouldn't hear it, it's hardly impartial," the spokesman said.
"The League said it would seek to resolve any procedural issues in due course. They haven't even given the date for when they might hold that hearing.
"It's extraordinary that it's been put off to some future date."
The Hird camp is standing by its threat to take the case to court.
"It's not impossible that this could still go to court," the spokesman said.
The AFL's response has averted any prospect of court action on Tuesday morning, which had been appearing more likely in the hours before the Hird camp's deadline.
The AFL would not confirm that it had responded, not wanting to weigh into the running commentary.
"There are ongoing discussions, and we're making no further comment," a League spokesman said.
Essendon is being represented separately and had not been involved in the Hird camp's plans.
"The club is still working through the process, and we don't have any update at this point in time," a club spokesperson told AFL.com.au.
Earlier on Monday, club chairman Paul Little told Channel Seven that Essendon's negotiations with the league were continuing.
"We can avert court action before next Monday by continuing to talk to the AFL, which is what we're doing," Little said.
Hird's representative Julian Burnside QC and Essendon's lawyer Jack Rush QC wouldn't comment when contacted by AFL.com.au.
A spokesman said as far as the League was concerned it was still planning for Monday week's scheduled hearing.
It also remains to be seen whether the AFL will release the particulars of the charges against the club, Hird, Thompson, Corcoran and Dr Reid.
Demetriou indicated on Friday he'd like those details to be made public, but this is being blocked by lawyers.
Broadly, the club and four key personnel have been charged with conduct unbecoming and bringing the game into disrepute under the League's rule 1.6.
The rule provides the AFL Commission with sweeping powers to take action.
- with AAP