”This is the most significant sanction in AFL history,” AFL ceo Andrew Demetriou said of the penalties.

Hird had copped the punishment, abandoning his plans to fight his punishment for bringing the game into disrepute in the Supreme Court.

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said: ”The AFL Commission shares [AFL fans’] anger, and frustration that the 2013 season has too often been dominated by headlines we’d rather not see.”

”The issues involved in the Essendon Football Club supplements program are deeply disturbing. The investigation undertaken in the past six months and the actions we have taken today reflects this gravity.”

The huge penalties stem from an experimental drugs program planned and carried out across 2011 and 2012.

Hird’s assistant Mark Thompson was issued with a fine while the AFL’s decision on club doctor Bruce Reid isn’t yet made.

After an investigation, Hird was found guilty of being “engaged in conduct unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or the reputation of the AFL or to bring the game of football into disrepute”.

Hird is one of the most decorated and revered figures in AFL having won the Brownlow Medal, Norm Smith medal for Grand Final man-of-the-match and been inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.

He is now the first first grade coach to be banned from the sport for a year.

The Bombers were equal fifth on the ladder and 16 points clear of eighth, so guaranteed a top eight spot. The record books will now show them finishing ninth.

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