Essendon Coach James Hird.
Essendon Coach James Hird. Vince Caligiuri / Getty Images

Essendon's James Hird 'horrified' by drug claims

ESSENDON senior coach James Hird said she has been horrified by claims he took a banned drug during the 2012 season, saying someone was out to destroy him.

"These claims are horrifying to me, and are being made by a person or people who appear determined to destroy my reputation,'' Hird said in a statement released on his club's website today.

"I have at all times fully adhered to, and promoted the WADA code and the AFL rules, and the code of ethics of the Essendon Football Club.

"I would never do anything to put the players of the Essendon Football Club or the club at risk.

"As I said in February, I am shocked our club is facing this situation.

"I will make no further comment at this stage as I am committed to assisting the ASADA and AFL investigation.

Club chairman David Evans said the allegations were "extremely serious and very distressing''.

"The board is aware of irregular practices, and that is why we self-reported to ASADA and to the AFL.

"The ASADA investigation commenced in early February, and we were advised by ASADA investigators that the club should not be doing our own investigation into the supplements program, but to leave the investigation and interviews with staff to ASADA.

"We have complied with that request and encouraged all our staff to cooperate with ASADA.

"In the interim, the Board has commissioned Ziggy Switkowsky to do a full review of our governance process, as well as commissioning independent medical and pharmacological advice as issues from 2012 become apparent.

News Ltd reports that Stephen Dank has claimed he injected Hird with a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).