CLUNES Football Netball Club has parted ways with senior coach Dale Cowell, but is now locked in a feud over his five-year contract.
The Courier understands Cowell is no longer leading the team, which is preparing for a clash against Daylesford this Saturday.
This match will be the Magpies’ first since Cowell sensationally watched on from the sidelines during the round six loss to Learmonth.
Cowell cited health and personal reasons for his decision not to carry out coaching duties in that fixture.
Last week, club president Christine Hill said he had the full support of the executive, but admitted it would have further discussions about the matter.
The Courier contacted both Hill and Cowell on Thursday, but neither wished to make public comment on the current situation.
AFL Goldfields general manager Rod Ward confirmed he has been involved with the club about resolving its dispute with Cowell.
As part of its AFL Victoria affiliation, Ward said Clunes had club management liability insurance.
“That does provide protection to the club if legal action is taken against the club for a breach of the contract,” Ward said.
While being careful not to comment on the specifics of the Clunes case, Ward expressed concerns around signing anybody on a five-year deal.
“As a general principal, playing contracts have a maximum period of two years and I would caution against any club signing any player or coach for a longer period than two years,” he said.
“If it’s very evident 12 months into a contract you have signed a very good footballer or a very good coach, you do have the opportunity then to extend the contract.
“We’ll provide as much assistance as we can to try and resolve this and make sure the club comes out of this in as strong as possible position and can start rebuilding for the future.”
Cowell arrived at Clunes in the off-season as a replacement to former joint-coaches Jason Hill and Michael McKenzie.
Following the opening six rounds of the 2016 campaign, the Magpies are winless and last on the Central Highlands Football League ladder.
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