AFL clears Clarkson for boundary-line swearing

Alastair Clarkson has avoided a potential two-match AFL ban after the North Melbourne coach apologised for swearing in protest at an umpiring decision.

Clarkson will also not coach from the boundary line for the rest of the season, adding he will continue to seek help for controlling his notorious temper.

A league investigation was unable to prove that Clarkson's foul-mouthed outburst on the boundary was directed at anyone in particular during Saturday's 59-point loss to Port Adelaide in Hobart.

If the AFL had found the four-time Hawthorn premiership coach guilty of conduct unbecoming, it could have a trigged a two-game suspended ban that hangs over Clarkson.

Less than three months ago, Clarkson was found guilty of the same offence for an expletive-laden tirade against St Kilda players Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard during a pre-season game.

But on Thursday night, the league announced no action would be taken against him for this latest incident.

"The AFL was made aware of the alleged comments by a match day official post-game who heard the comments, with the investigations unit following up the report," the league said in a statement.

"Clarkson has admitted to loudly swearing and using inappropriate language while standing near the umpires and officials' bench in response to an umpiring decision during the third quarter.

"After talking to match officials,  the AFL was not able to be comfortably satisfied that Clarkson's swearing was directed towards a specific person or persons and in particular an AFL match official or officials and as such no finding of a breach of AFL rules has been made."

The 55-year-old used the homophobic slur "c********r" during that exchange with Howard and Webster and was hit with a $20,000 fine, as well as a two-match ban, which was suspended until the end of the 2025 season.

On Saturday, it is widely understood that Clarkson yelled out "f*****g c***".

In a club statement, Clarkson said: "I acknowledge that ... in a moment of frustration I lost my temper and swore while I was coaching from the bench.

"It was undisciplined by me and I have expressed my apologies to the AFL.

"As a club we can do without these distractions and as such I have agreed that it's best if I remain in the coaches' box on match days for the rest of this season.

"In the meantime I'll continue to seek support on how I deal with these moments."

Kangaroos chief executive Jennifer Watt said Clarkson and the club are "aligned" in what he will do following this latest incident.

"We fully support him as he works to improve his reactions," Watt said.

Former Hawthorn coach Clarkson has a long history of flare-ups and confrontations, which includes 12 misdemeanours since 2006.

North Melbourne have a bye this weekend.