Jeff Kennett has this morning strongly criticised Essendon chairman Paul Little, accusing him of adding unnecessary fuel to the fire caused by Tania Hird's controversial ABC interview last Thursday night.
Speaking with Collingwood president Eddie McGuire on Triple M this morning, the former Victorian premier and Hawthorn president argued that while Tania Hird was not blameless, she had the right to make her thoughts on the treatment of her husband James known.
"Tania was entitled to make her comments, her timing was appalling, but she's an individual person, and she was entitled to make her comments," Kennett said.
"If Paul [Little] had just ignored those comments, then the saga would have just been a 24-hour issue, he's now kept it going.
"Essendon are going to meet tonight, are they going to sanction Hird further or not, I don't know."
Kennett also lashed out at the AFL, slamming the league for poor corporate governance and operating a "boys' club".
"It's one of the biggest PR disasters we've seen in corporate life in recent times," Kennett said.
"The AFL have incompetently handled process, and secondly and more importantly now, it's not an issue now so much about the supplements saga which will run its own course, there are now other issues around who has been telling the truth and who hasn't.
"When you try and deny the truth, when you refuse to allow the truth to be identified, you get this environment of cover-up which is where we are today, and that's now led to a situation where the public is losing faith in the administration of the game ... and the AFL simply refuse to address the issues."
Kennett directly attacked McGuire too, accusing him of being a member of the AFL "boys' club", a claim which McGuire refuted.
"It is a boys club, and people protect each other ... so many of them are connected not only in the commercial world but also their social world, and it is very much a club, and I sit on a number of commercial boards, and the rules that apply to commercial boards in terms of governance should apply to the AFL, and they don't.
"Unfortunately as we've seen the conditions become more choppy over the last three years, we've seen two incidents at the Adelaide Football Club, we've seen the incident at Melbourne over tanking, we've seen this more serious issue at Essendon and unfortunately the way this issue has been handled has led to this situation now where you've got claims being made now - he said she said, self-protection, self-interest - the thing that hasn't got top priority has been the interest of the game."
The Essendon board are scheduled to meet today to determine James Hird's future.