Western Eagles complaint near resolution

FORMER Western Eagles coach Sam Crane says he and Aboriginal elder Joe Narbaluk are nearing resolution over a dispute with the club.

The pair is among a group of people who lodged a complaint against the Eagles with the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission last year.

At the time, Mr Narbaluk said he and Mr Crane were representing about a dozen people – mainly former players – who they said were adversely affected by alleged incidents at the club during 2009.

Western Eagles joined forces with an Aboriginal mentoring program in 2009 in an attempt to ensure its survival and help troubled indigenous youth and adults.

The recruitment program lasted just one year.

Western Eagles president Andrew Mallon took out an advertisement in Monday’s Colac Herald, stating the club did “not tolerate racism or racist attitudes in sport or the community”.

“The Western Eagles Football Netball Club Inc regrets that it could not continue with the recruitment but it is not a reflection on the coach Sam Crane or Joe Narbaluk,” the statement read.

Mr Crane could not go into detail, citing a confidentiality clause, but said he and Mr Narbaluk were nearing a resolution through conciliation.

Complaints to the AHREOC are resolved through conciliation, where the people involved in a complaint talk through the issues with the help of someone impartial and settle the matter on their own terms.

Complaint outcomes can include an apology, reinstatement to a job, compensation for lost wages, changes to a policy or developing and promoting anti-discrimination policies.

“I’m not complaining about it, but we’re accelerating the resolution,” Mr Crane said.

“But in relation to the stuff concerning football I can’t say, that’s a part of the confidentiality clause,” he said.

An AHREOC spokesperson could not confirm the advertisement was the result of conciliation.

“With our process, the committee acts as an impartial third party, they negotiate between themselves,” they said.

“It’s a general process, each matter is looked at individually with a broad range of resolutions.”

Western Eagles football manager Marc Montano said the confidentiality clause did not allow the club to make comment.

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