THE AFL has asked Essendon to clarify whether or not it is still paying suspended senior coach James Hird.
However, a League spokesman told AFL.com.au on Thursday evening that no direct talks are taking place between the Dons and the AFL because the AFL's chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, chief executive Andrew Demetriou and deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan are in Adelaide.
An Essendon spokesman confirmed that the Bombers and the AFL have been in contact regarding Hird.
He said the club was still working through the situation and would not be making a statement on the matter until Friday at the earliest.
The AFL has admitted the "Terms of the Deed" that applies to the settlement between Hird and the AFL does not contain a specific clause banning Hird from being paid by Essendon during his 12-month suspension.
But the AFL is adamant the Bombers were told that Hird should not receive any money from them during his ban, which stemmed from his role in the supplements saga.
"I want to make it very clear, the sanction to James Hird is a 12-month suspension, [and] is a suspension without pay," Demetriou told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Wednesday.
"It is incorrect that he's being paid by the Essendon Football Club. He's not allowed to be paid. I want to make that very clear.
"I have no knowledge of what he's being paid outside of the Essendon Football Club, but he's not permitted to be paid by the Essendon Football Club. That is a fact."Essendon chairman Paul Little and James Hird during the ASADA investigation. Picture: AFL Media
Yet reports in News Limited newspapers have claimed that Hird is continuing to receive a wage from the Bombers.
A report published on Thursday quoted a source close to Hird as saying, "James is being paid a salary as pursuant to his contract. A third party cannot interfere with those contractual arrangements.''
The same report also stated that Hird's advisors believe he is entitled to keep receiving money from Essendon.
As a result, the AFL has asked the club to clarify the situation as soon as possible.
And Demetriou has flagged the possibility that Essendon could be hit with additional sanctions if it is found to be still paying Hird.
IN OTHER DEVELOPMENTS, a report - written by James Hird's law firm that questions the appropriateness of an ASADA/AFL joint investigation - has been delivered to the Federal Government.
The Ashurst Report - named after Hird's law firm - says: "It was completely inappropriate for ASADA to have embarked upon a joint investigation with the AFL."
The AFL has not seen the report.
According to News Limited, Hird's advisers Steven Amendola and Ian Hankedelivered the report to federal Sports Minister Peter Dutton andAttorney-General George Brandis.
The report said: "The tenets of natural justice, and thus the reliability of the interim report's findings, were egregiously undermined by the manner of its preparation. The incomplete nature of the interim report means it should never have been provided to the AFL."