Greg Buckle April 11, 2012
The AFL's most senior indigenous official Jason Mifsud yesterday apologised to Melbourne player Aaron Davey for distress he caused him over what he called a misunderstanding.
The AFL released a statement saying Davey had accepted Mifsud's apology after they met in a mediation session.
It followed the publication of an online column by former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas in which he claimed Melbourne coach Mark Neeld treated the club's indigenous players differently to other players.
He made the claim based on a conversation he'd had with Mifsud but withdrew the allegation and apologised after a phone call from Neeld that day.
Amid speculation that indigenous player Davey had been the source within the Demons who had passed the false allegation on to Mifsud, Davey denied any involvement.
The AFL moved to end the matter yesterday with its statement after the mediation session between Mifsud and Davey.
''Aaron and Jason had a discussion a few weeks ago,'' the AFL said. ''Both have different recollections of the conversation which gave rise to a misunderstanding.
''Based on his discussion with Aaron Davey today, Jason now accepts that Aaron didn't say the words that were published by Grant Thomas and Jason has apologised to Aaron for putting him in the situation where those words were published.''
Mifsud said, ''I have apologised to Aaron personally for the distress this has caused him and his family and I am pleased we were able to fully discuss the matter.''
Mifsud had offered to resign last week and was under pressure over a perceived lack of trust between himself and the AFL's indigenous players, with former indigenous stars including Andrew McLeod and Dean Rioli speaking out against him.
But Davey stood by Mifsud.
''Clearly there was a misunderstanding following my conversation with Jason a couple of weeks ago,'' Davey said.
''Jason is a man I trust and respect and I look forward to working with him in the future.''
Mifsud said he was looking forward to continuing his role with the AFL as community engagement manager.
The Demons and AFL chief Andrew Demetriou both said they were pleased to see the matter resolved.
''Importantly, this has provided the opportunity to bring this matter to a close for Aaron, Mark Neeld and the club,'' Melbourne chief Cameron Schwab said. AAP