Essendon coach James Hird has pulled out of a press conference only five minutes before the scheduled start on Friday morning with a club spokesman saying he was "stuck in meetings".
The Bombers had notified media by email at 9.16am that Hird would attend his weekly press conference, with Essendon playing Carlton in a vital clash on Saturday.
It had been expected that he would outline his next move after AFL chief Andrew Demetriou rejected allegations in the Supreme Court writ lodged by the Essendon coach.
There had even been speculation he would step down as the supplements scandal engulfing the club has deepened, but that was not expected to happen.
However, waiting press were told that Hird was too busy and Bombers' assistant coach Simon Goodwin would take his place.
"James Hird wishes he could be here but he's just unavailable. He's stuck in meetings," a club spokesman said.
Essendon great Tim Watson has said Hird should step down as coach if he feels his legal battle with the AFL would prevent him from preparing fully for Saturday night's clash against Carlton at the MCG.
Hird has alleged in his writ that Demetriou and his deputy Gillon McLachlan had tipped off Essendon about an Australian Crime Commission report into drug use at the club.
Demetriou, on Friday, again denied the claims.
"It was impossible to tell Essendon anything when I was not privy to the information," he told ABC radio.
Hird and Essendon appear to have been pushed into a corner by the rival 17 clubs after a meeting of club presidents on Thursday.
Demetriou said he had welcomed the support the presidents had given the AFL Commission, which has been asked by Hird's legal team to step aside from hearing the coach's case because of alleged integrity issues.
"I was very heartened yesterday, I wasn't in that part of the meeting, to hear that (Western Bulldogs president) Peter Gordon, when he came out of the meeting state that there was full support for the integrity of the game and the AFL Commission, the custodians of the game, and support in the AFL executive and management," he said on 3AW.
Demetriou said the battle with Hird was not personal.
"These headlines are certainly not of my making. I've consistently maintained that James Hird has been a great contributor, he's a legend of the game. He's entitled to have his say and put his case forward," he said.
With the AFL Commission to meet on Monday, Demetriou said he was unsure if there would be a resolution before the finals.
"That's entirely up to the process. You have heard me say on many occasions it would be preferable to have a view for the sake of the public and Essendon supporters and the Essendon Football Club, everyone involved in the game, and our other clubs to have it a definitive view before the finals.
"That would be preferable. But if it's not to be, it's not to be," he said.