AFL gives blessing for Hird to coach again

James Hird won't be stopped from coaching again despite being banned in 2013 for his involvement in Essendon's doping saga.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says the league won't stand in the way of James Hird coaching again, but GWS can forget about receiving assistance in any bid to secure Alastair Clarkson.

Leon Cameron's decision to leave his post as GWS coach following Sunday's clash with Carlton is set to spark a huge coaching merry-go-round.

Four-time Hawthorn premiership coach Clarkson is set to be chased by a host of clubs, and GWS now have the advantage of being able to openly negotiate straight away.

But if Clarkson decides GWS isn't a good fit for him, then former Bombers coach Hird shapes as an outside chance.

Hird is currently working at GWS in a mentoring role.

But the fact Hird was banned in 2013 for his role in Essendon's doping scandal had raised questions about whether the AFL would ever let him coach again.

McLachlan said the league won't stand in Hird's way.

"Absolutely not," McLachlan said on 3AW.

"He's doing work with (GWS) now. I don't know if James wants to coach again.

"He has wanted to come back into football to an extent, but there is absolutely no reason (why the AFL would stop him from coaching).

"They (GWS) want the right coach to take them forward.

"Whether they're a brand coach like Leigh Matthews or Clarkson, the club will work through what their playing group needs."

Clarkson landing at perennial strugglers Gold Coast, who are currently coached by Stuart Dew, would be a dream outcome for the AFL.

But if GWS do happen to land Clarkson, they won't be getting any ambassadorial funds from the AFL to help them seal the deal.

"The same cost with the soft cap applies to all clubs, that's not in consideration that there would be additional monies in the cap for that," McLachlan said..

Meanwhile, McLachlan guaranteed there will still be a significant free-to-air component in the league's next broadcast deal.

"We've got about three-and-a-half games on free-to-air and we won't compromise that," he said.

"We will still ... have, give or take, that amount of content on free-to-air football, because it's important that everyone can access our game - and the best of our game - for free."

"But we will also have a subscription/streaming partner."

McLachlan confirmed the AFLW season will start at the end of August, and he hopes a new collective bargain agreement will be signed off soon.