Damien Hardwick not in breach over relationship

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick. Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

Three-time AFL premiership coach Damien Hardwick's relationship with a member of Richmond's administration staff has been approved by the club.

The 48-year-old confirmed in December he had split with wife Danielle, with whom he has three children.

There has been speculation in recent days a new relationship between Hardwick and a female member of the Tigers' commercial sales team could put pressure on the long-time coach's position, which he has held since 2010.

But Richmond released a statement on Monday declaring the new relationship is not in breach of club policy.

"The club is aware that coach Damien Hardwick is currently in a relationship with a member of the club's administration staff," the statement read. "The club has no concerns with this under club policy. Beyond this, it is a private matter and we ask that privacy be respected."

Hardwick, who led Richmond to a third flag in four years during a turbulent 2020 campaign, is on an extended off-season break away from the club.

The Tigers' coaching games record holder will not return to Punt Road until February, when he will begin his 12th season in charge.

In the meantime, Richmond fitness boss Peter Burge will lead the initial phase of the club's pre-season training program.

AFL clubs are scheduled to resume training on Wednesday ahead of the 2021 season, which is scheduled to begin on March 18.