Board hits back amid Dees' off-field drama

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Melbourne's board has come out swinging in an escalation of its public stoush with Glen Bartlett, saying the former president was unanimously asked to resign from his post at the AFL club last year.

In a statement to members, the board also reiterated its support for coach Simon Goodwin after a hellish few weeks, during which the reigning premiers have been rocked by off-field issues and media reports.

The Demons have also lost their last three matches and relinquished top spot on the ladder.

Bartlett on Thursday issued a statement saying he tried to free Melbourne of workplace bullying, gambling, harassment and illegal drugs.

He also accused unnamed parties of subjecting himself and his partner to threats and a public campaign to discredit them since March last year.

The bombshell development was the first time in months that Bartlett had commented publicly about matters at Melbourne.

Stories have emerged since earlier this year about off-field problems at the Demons during the 2020-21 summer, when Goodwin was under growing pressure.

Bartlett resigned suddenly as president in April last year after serving in the role since 2014, with Kate Roffey taking over.

He said at the time he was "totally cooked" and Bartlett then resigned from the Melbourne board in November last year.

Bartlett said on Thursday "the decision to step down when I did was mine" but the Demons' current board refuted that claim on Friday.

"It was the unanimous decision of the Board to request Glen resign as President," the board's statement said.

"We acknowledge that a change of leadership at a club is a difficult time for all involved and out of respect for Glen and his service to the club, when the time came for him to hand over the presidency, we endeavoured to respectfully acknowledge his achievements and contribution."

The board again issued public support for Goodwin and others who have been the subject of media reports in recent weeks.

"The Board would also like to reiterate its support of the club's people, particularly Simon Goodwin, who have been unfairly targeted as part of inaccurate and unsubstantiated media reports," the statement continued.

"As the Board has previously stated, Simon is an exceptional and inclusive leader, who is loved by players, coaches and staff, and is a key driver of our high-performance culture, standards and disciplines."

The board's statement did not specifically address Bartlett's claim that during his time as president, he "was doing everything possible to have a club free of workplace bullying; gambling; harassment and illegal drugs."

It also did not address Bartlett's belief "that my approach and the raising of these issues resulted in a campaign against me from various quarters".

When Bartlett resigned from the presidency, the Demons had made a 4-0 start to last season and they would go on to win the premiership, breaking a 57-year drought.

But after starting their flag defence with a 10-game winning streak, Melbourne have lost their last three matches.

Apart from the ongoing media stories about Melbourne's off-field past, full back Steven May was suspended for a game last week after a restaurant fight with teammate Jake Melksham.

Captain Max Gawn is also out for several weeks with an ankle injury.

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