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Archive for  January 2016

Sunday 31, Jan 2016

Former Associate Of Pharmacists Assists Doping Inquiry

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Gerry Ramogida, a prominent sports chiropractor who works for the Seattle Seahawks and has treated Olympic athletes from Canada and Britain, had reached out to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, the organization that oversees the country’s anti-doping program.

Ramogida is cooperating with Canadian anti-doping officials in the wake of an Al Jazeera report that alleged a network of people who claimed to have offered performance enhancing drugs to professional athletes. Ramogida vehemently denied any involvement with performance enhancing drugs and also remarked he had no knowledge that some business associates were associated with doping. Ramogida went on to add that he learned of the activities only after Al Jazeera brought it to his attention.

In the documentary (“The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping”), the business associates — Charles Sly and Chad Robertson, both pharmacists, and Brandon Spletzer, a naturopath — were shown talking openly about providing illicit drugs to athletes. In the documentary, Sly suggested that Peyton Manning had used human growth hormone. Later, a YouTube statement was posted by Sly in which he insisted that everything he told the Al Jazeera reporter was untrue. An undercover reporter was told by Robertson that they were developing a telemedicine clinic with Ramogida called ProMed and this clinic would provide second opinions to athletes after they have been treated by team doctors. Ramogida was recruited to participate in the venture but backed out before the December report of Al Jazeera.

Gerry Ramogida remarked he believes his business partners recruited him as a conduit to top athletes and added he was an unwitting pawn unaware of the ulterior motives of his partners. In a statement, Ramogida said he can’t emphasize strongly enough that at no point was there ever any discussions — nor even the slightest hint — of anything to do with banned substances and also said hence his utter shock at seeing the Al Jazeera documentary.

It was confirmed by the Seahawks, the Vancouver Canucks of the N.H.L. and Fortius Sport & Health, a sports medicine and training center in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby that Ramogida came forward to tell them about his association with Robertson, Spletzer, and ProMed before the Al Jazeera report was broadcast. Craig Thompson, president and chief executive of Fortius, said we stand by Gerry 100 percent and added there is no evidence or even the slightest suggestion linking him to PEDs, which are of course the complete antithesis of everything Gerry has stood for throughout his career.

Sarah Teetzel, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Manitoba, remarked naturopaths haven’t really been part of the conversation of doping development and added a team doctor knows if they are found to have supplied an athlete, there are consequences.

Paul Melia, the chief executive of CCES, said it is always disturbing to hear of these kinds of allegations to the extent that the documentary suggests that it is going on. Melia added CCES was increasingly focused on the “supply chain” and the network of people who provide performance enhancing drugs to athletes.

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Friday 29, Jan 2016

Former UEFA Man Appointed To Lead Anti-Doping Unit

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Mike Earl has been appointed by World Rugby as its Anti-Doping General Manager, the sport’s governing body said in a statement.

Earl will head the Dublin-based organization’s anti-doping unit. Previously, Earl has spent 15 years working in the field for UEFA, the Football Association, and the UK National Anti-Doping Organization.

In a statement, World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset remarked doping is a major threat to the integrity of sport and World Rugby is a committed and active federation in the fight to protect clean sport. Lapasset added this appointment in a critical area expands our capability, ensuring the highest possible standards of testing and education as our sport continues to reach and grow in new markets worldwide.

Lapasset also said we announced a 28 per cent increase in our annual education and testing funding in 2015. He also remarked this record anti-doping investment, with participation levels increasing at unprecedented rates, represents a proactive and pragmatic approach to protect our sport and ensure a level playing field. The World Rugby chairman added it focuses on the intelligence-based testing supported by our biological passport program and increased face-to-face and online education across multiple languages.

The World Rugby in a statement said it was committed to ensuring the highest standards of education in order that players at all levels of the sport make the right choices with regards to nutrition and participation. The statement also reads that education remains a critical deterrent and it is mandatory for players, coaches and medical practitioners participating in World Rugby events. The World Rugby statement added it would also implement educational programs at lower levels of the game and in school rugby.

During last year’s Rugby World Cup 2015 testing program, 468 samples were taken across all 20 participating nations with no adverse findings.

Recently, Ryan Watkins was suspended from all sport for four years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). Watkins tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone and the stimulant Methylhexaneamine following an in-competition test on 18 August after a pre-season friendly between Maesteg Harlequins RFC and Bridgend Ravens RFC. He is banned from 12 September 2015 to midnight on 11 September 2019.

UKAD Director of Legal, Graham Arthur said Ryan Watkins deliberately ingested Nandrolone and Methylhexaneamine without any consideration for his responsibilities as an athlete and added by making this conscious choice to dope, Watkins has chosen to cheat his team mates, the opposition and his sport.

Few days back, UK Anti-Doping suspended Shaun Cleary from all sport for two years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation. The hooker for Maesteg Harlequins RFC tested positive for Benzoylecgonine (a cocaine metabolite) following an in-competition test on 18 August after a pre-season friendly between Maesteg Harlequins RFC and Bridgend Ravens RFC. At that time, Graham Arthur said Cleary used cocaine three days before he played and cocaine was still in his system when he played. The UKAD Director of Legal then remarked cocaine is banned from sport and Athletes are solely responsible for what is in their system, regardless of whether there is an intention to cheat or not. Sportspeople have to be aware that using cocaine at any time will put them at great risk of breaking the anti-doping rules and receiving a long ban.

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Wednesday 27, Jan 2016

Radcliffe Slams MPs For The Doping Allegations

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Women’s marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe has suggested a parliamentary hearing into doping last year was “a set-up”. However, Radcliffe accepted a partial apology from Jesse Norman, chairman of the culture, media, and sport select committee during the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show.

Radcliffe remarked personally she feels she would appreciate an apology. The English long-distance runner, who is the current women’s world record holder in the marathon with her time of 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds, remarked Norman may not have intentionally meant to name her but if you ask him to name a winner or medalist of the London Marathon she doesn’t think he could name any of the others in that period and it shouldn’t have come down to that.

Norman had remarked winners of the London marathon including “potentially British athletes” were among those with suspicious blood tests. The chairman of the culture, media, and sport select committee did not use the name of Radcliffe but she argued there are so few people that fit that description he may have well have.

The three-time winner of the London Marathon added it just smacks to me of a little bit of a set-up and an exercise for the MPs instead of an exercise to get to the truth and to determine is the UK huge, does it have a problem with blood doping in athletics. Paula was implicated in doping allegations after a leak of blood data to The Sunday Times. She vehemently denied the allegations and was cleared by the International Association for Athletics Federation (IAAF). The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and UK Anti-Doping, following the accusations and rumors, remarked they had no evidence of doping and wrongdoings against the women’s marathon world record-holder.

Reacting to Paula’s call for an apology, Norman said no apology is required since he was not naming Paula. Norman added he thinks it is a terrible shame that her name was linked with the hearing and I am amongst millions of people in this country who has nothing but admiration for the sporting achievements linked to her name. Norman was however to say he was “sorry” if his actions had results in Paula Radcliffe being linked with the athletics’ blood doping scandal. Norman remarked he was perfectly happy to say that he is sorry to hear about what has happened and he is sorry it has been taken in this way. Norman also went on to say that what he does think is a pity, and what he had not realized at the time, was that Radcliffe had been pursued by people in and outside the sport on this issue beforehand, and that may have been why the link was made, but it had nothing to do with him. Norman also said he was not able to name any other winners or medalists of the London marathon.

Paula Radcliffe, who won the 10,000 meters silver medal at the 1999 World Championships and was the 2002 Commonwealth champion at 5000 meters, has earned her a number of accolades including the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Laureus World Comeback of the Year, IAAF World Athlete of the Year, AIMS World Athlete of the Year (three times), and a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Paula was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Monday 25, Jan 2016

Adidas To Pull Out Of Deal With IAAF

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German sportswear giant Adidas has written to the International Association of Athletics Federations that it is terminating its sponsorship deal three years early.

An 11-year agreement was signed by Adidas with the world governing body of athletics in 2008 reported to be worth around £23m. Citing anonymous sources, BBC reported the sponsorship deal, which was signed in November 2008, was worth around $8 million (5.61 million pounds) per year. The company is one of the IAAF’s “Official Partners” along with Canon, Toyota, Seiko, TDK, TBS, and Mondo. Adidas is also the oldest commercial partner of FIFA, the governing body of world football that is embroiled in its own corruption scandal.

BBC reported that the German sportswear giant was prompted by the ongoing doping and corruption scandal. It is believed that the move to terminate the deal by Adidas will result in tens of millions of dollars in lost income. It is speculated that Adidas told the IAAF in November about this termination in November after the publication of first report of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission that detailed claims of “state-sponsored doping” within Russia. The commission released a second report recently in which it accused the governing body of athletics of having “embedded corruption” at the very top of the organization under former president Lamine Diack. Diack and his son, Papa Massata, are presently under investigation by French police over corruption allegations and both have denied wrongdoing.

An Adidas spokeswoman said Adidas has a clear anti-doping policy in place and therefore we are in close contact with the IAAF to learn more about their reform process. In reply, the IAAF said it is in close contact with all its sponsors and partners as we embark on our reform process.

In another development, the head of UK Anti-Doping was criticized by the Football Association for making “unhelpful” and “misleading” comments about drug-taking in the sport. Nicole Sapstead said “football was at risk”. The UKAD chief said she would give importance to talks with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after he spoke out on the topic. The FA says it will seek a meeting with UK Anti-Doping over her comments.

Darren Bailey, the FA’s director of football governance and administration, said the comments of Sapstead were “speculative” and “unhelpful” and added that they had no “evidential basis”. Bailey went on to add that such comments create a misleading impression and he will be taking this up with UKAD at the highest level. Wenger said on Thursday he was happy to meet Sapstead to discuss the issue of doping. Wenger remarked what is important is that we all try to show we don’t accept it and also said it is important to think that when a guy wins it is because he is the best, not because he has taken illegal substances.

Bailey confirmed the FA had already spoken to Wenger and remarked the FA has no current information to suggest the public cannot trust in the measures we have in place, nor should anyone think English football would ever get complacent to the risks of doping.

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Saturday 23, Jan 2016

Holly Holm To Endorse Products Prohibited By UFC

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Holly Holm, the American mixed martial artist who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight division, has signed a new endorsement deal with a supplement company that makes a number of products that contain a stimulant included on the prohibited substances list of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Holm recently agreed to a two-year deal and she will be seen pictured next to five bottled products of the company in a new advertisement. Three of these products are advertised as containing DMAA.

The UFC women’s bantamweight and former world boxing champion would be seen endorsing DMAA (chemical name Dimethylamylamine) that is a performance enhancing drug banned by WADA as it aids in fat loss and promotes muscle growth. Dimethylamylamine is banned by the UFC, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration.

This is the second time that Holm has associated herself with a company making banned supplements. Holm has been tested seven times since the inception of anti-doping program of the UFC in July and all of her results have been negative.

In a statement, the UFC said Holly Holm is a great UFC champion and a role model for the sport of mixed martial arts. It was further added that the UFC organization has not researched the company that is sponsoring Holm, and UFC does not condone any athlete that uses a substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List.

Holm will defend her bantamweight title that she swiped from Ronda Rousey last November against Miesha Tate on March 5.  Holm (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) looks for her first title defense when she meets Miesha Tate (17-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in UFC 197’s pay-per-view co-headliner on March 5 in Las Vegas. This was after Rousey requested and received additional time off after an immediate rematch at the UFC’s blockbuster UFC 200 show on July 2 was tentatively scheduled. The second fight between Holm and Rousey is expected to challenge UFC pay-per-view and live gate records.

Meanwhile, UFC women’s bantamweight contender Miesha Tate has remarked she is not in favor of a second go-around between champ Holly Holm and Ronda Rouse. Tate (17-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) argues she is a better candidate for the title and added she is not a fan of the rematch in that amount of time, because with everything else that Ronda has going on, plus her injuries, she just do not think it is going to amount to a good outcome.

UFC president Dana White said UFC fans will see Ronda Rousey fight again. White added Ronda has dedicated the last three-plus years to working hard here. Not just fighting, but promoting and taking the sport and the UFC to a whole other level and Ronda has some well-deserved time off, but she will fight this year.

Holm’s longtime manager, Lenny Fresquez, recently confirmed Holm has inked a multiyear contract extension to remain with the UFC. Fresquez said we have officially signed a multiyear extension with the UFC and went on to add that we’ve signed an extension, and we’re very happy with the extension.

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Thursday 21, Jan 2016

Anderson Silva Responds To Bisping’s Comments

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Anderson da Silva, the Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC Middleweight Champion, has responded to a jibe from Michael Bisping.

Recently, Bisping had tweeted Silva to stay out from Viagra. The English mixed martial artist who competes in the middleweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship was referring to Silva’s admission that he took a sexually enhancing blue vial and did not used anabolic androgenic steroids after he tested positive for Drostanolone metabolites and Androsterone following his fight with Nick Diaz. A $380,000 fine and a 12-month suspension, retroactive from January 31, were handed to Silva by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Reacting to Bisping’s remark, Silva said he does not have to prove absolutely anything to Bisping or anyone else besides himself. Silva, who holds the longest title defense streak in UFC history, remarked he never needed any illegal substance, steroid or anything like that and also remarked he did made a mistake like everyone does and he had never tested positive before. Silva said he was questioned by the commissioner and it was arrogant for the NAC commissioner to ask him if he had ever been randomly tested before. The Brazilian mixed martial artist said he is excited for the Michael Bisping bout and said a dominant win for him will catapult into title contendership.

Bisping has been a vocal critic of users of performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. The former Cage Rage Light Heavyweight Champion, who is ranked #7 in official UFC middleweight rankings, once said if Cung Le was on some kind of enhancing drug, it only makes my performance seem better, referring to the UFC Fight Night 48 in August but also remarked he would have been outraged and pissed off if he had lost. Bisping has fought no lesser than three opponents who were known users of synthetic testosterone, all of whom took the “shield” of therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone-replacement therapy. TRT is now banned in MMA and the UFC and Bisping said if people’s testosterone levels can be 10 times higher than what it normally is, of course that’s going to give you an edge.

Bisping said on his radio show he is telling people right now that he is going to destroy Anderson Silva. The Ultimate Fighter 3 Light Heavyweight Tournament winner said his camp is going the best it has ever been and he is performing better. Bisping also remarked he is way better mentally than he has ever been and he is going to get the people of London to cheer and make some goddamn noise and demand that he gets a title shot.

Anderson Silva (33-6 MMA, 15-2 UFC) vs. Michael Bisping (27-7 MMA, 17-7 UFC) will headline the UFC Fight Night 83 card in London, England on February 27th at London’s 02 Arena. The matchup between the two has been brewing for many years but it never came to reality because of the previous position of Silva as UFC champion paired with struggles of Bisping in key bouts.

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Tuesday 19, Jan 2016

Former Russian Athletics Chief Fears Prosecution

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Former Russian athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichev said he fears “real danger” that he could possibly face criminal charges over a bribery and doping scandal for which he denied responsibility.

The IAAF ethics commission recently banned Balakhnichev, who also served as treasurer of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 2011 to 2014, for life after it was alleged that he took bribes for covering up doping by Russian athletes.

Balakhnichev said he had done everything he could possibly have done to prevent cheating by Russian track and field athletes. The ex-Russian athletics chief also defended his actions as President of the Russian athletics federation (ARAF) from 1991 to 2015. Balakhnichev went on to comment that he could not have held the athletes by the hand. Presently, Balakhnichev is under investigation from French financial prosecutors who are probing evidence passed on to them by the independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency and its chairman Dick Pound.

The former ARAF chief said he could be targeted by an international warrant. Balakhnichev remarked if things are going to keep being this way – with the documents Pound allegedly transmitted to the French authorities – then, of course, there is a real danger that this can be used against him and also remarked he is afraid but he does not see anything that could attract their interest.

Balakhnichev was accused by the World Anti-Doping Agency of having facilitated fraud and corruption within the world governing body of athletics, the IAAF. He however maintains that WADA does not have sufficient evidence to prove any of the graft allegations levied against him. Balakhnichev was among the former IAAF officials who got entangled in a corruption scandal that made Interpol issued a wanted notice for Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF president, Lamine Diack and a ex-marketing consultant for the athletics’ governing body. Papa Massata faces corruption and money laundering charges in France.

Recently, the Russian athletics federation selected Dmitry Shlyakhtin in an attempt to have the ban on its team lifted before the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Shlyakhtin was unanimously elected by senior sports officials to wash away allegations of widespread doping. Shlyakhtin, a former rugby and athletics coach, will head an “anti-crisis team” to implement reform and remarked his task is simple and to return Russian athletics to an international level and restore the trust of the world governing body of athletics and WADA.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko commented that possible Russian Olympic contenders would be tested by British anti-doping specialists three times a month in the lead-up to the Rio Games. Mutko added there are no problems with us returning because the majority of our athletes are conscientious. The sports minister also commented that our athletes are on international anti-doping registers, and to accuse us of hiding our competitors from testing is baseless.

The IAAF said in a statement that the weakness of IAAF’s governance, which has been exposed, allowed individuals at the head of the previous regime at the IAAF to delay the following of normal procedures in certain doping case.

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Sunday 17, Jan 2016

Vladimir Putin May Have Consulted On Doping

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According to a new report on the Russian doping scandal, the leader of International Association of Athletics Federations told a lawyer that he had to cut a deal with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The purported deal was to ensure that nine athletes from Russia who were accused of doping would not compete at the 2013 world championships in Moscow.

The report fully highlights the extent of doping cover-ups and blackmailing of athletes by IAAF officials. It also demonstrates that the IAAF was fully aware of doping by Russian and other athletes but decided to stay quiet. It is widely believed by many that details of the 89-page investigation that was expected to be released by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Thursday would shock the world of athletics again. Written by WADA’s first president, Dick Pound, the report says the world governing body of athletics must emphasize on restructuring for ensuring corruption cannot go unchecked. The former WADA Chief wrote the corruption cannot be blamed on a small number of miscreants and went on to add that it was embedded in the organization.

The report says the corruption cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting himself. This report by Pound comes a day after Associated Press released details from six years of internal emails, notes, and reports of the IAAF that revealed a high level of communication between the IAAF and Russian officials about suspicious test results from Russian athletes, including cover-up plans to hide doping evidence.

The report, in addition to the deal-making friendship forged between Vladimir Putin and then-IAAF president Lamine Diack, disclosed a dramatic increase from $6 million to $25 million for Russian rights to televise the 2013 worlds provided by a Russian bank. This report also revealed details about a lawyer who was handpicked by Lamine Diack, the former IAAF President, for handling cases of Russian athletes even though he had little experience with anti-doping measures. All this suggests that there was no way that IAAF Council members, which included the present IAAF President Sebastian Coe, could have been unaware of the extent of doping and non-enforcement of the rules in track.

The report by Pound said Diack explained to IAAF lawyer Huw Roberts that he was in a difficult position that could only be resolved by President Putin of Russia with whom he had struck up a friendship. The report said none of the nine athletes eventually competed in Moscow and their cases were not pursued further by the International Association of Athletics Federations and those delays resulted in the resignation of Roberts in January 2014. Roberts had virtually no control over cases involving Russians by then.

Diack turned over responsibility to his personal lawyer, Habib Cisse, in November 2011 for Russian cases involving biological passport blood tests. The lawyer is presently under investigation by French police for corruption along with Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine, who has been banned for life by the IAAF. The report also said Papa Massata and another of Diack’s sons, Khalil, had IAAF jobs outside the official framework of the IAAF that set them up to execute all the fraud.

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Friday 15, Jan 2016

Lidiya Grigoryeva Faces Doping Allegations

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Lidiya Grigoryeva, the 2007 Boston Marathon champion, is facing doping allegations after the world governing body of athletics has decided to pursue a case against her.

According to an IAAF spokesman, the sanction of Grigoryeva is about to be concluded and will be published accordingly. In a statement, Boston Athletic Association executive director Tom Grilk remarked we await the findings as the current investigation continues. Grilk added the Boston Athletic Association has pushed for many years for increased testing in and out of competition and harsh sanctions against those who test positive for doping and that we cooperate with and rely on the IAAF and WADA that conduct the testing and impose sanctions.

In a statement, IAAF spokesman Chris Turner said there was a huge influx in 2009 of suspicious profiles coming through. Turner also said 8-18 months from investigation to sanction on average happened for blood passport cases. The IAAF spokesman also remarked there was a need to prioritize, and in particular to expedite those cases which involved potential medal winners ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games and also commented that no cases were concealed or suppressed, the IAAF simply tackled them in order of importance.

An internal IAAF note named 10 athletes — middle distance runners, race walkers, and marathoners — who would be eligible for “rapid and discreet” treatment. Out of them, six were banned for two years and most of them received the bans after the 2012 London Olympic Games while four others named in the 2011 note have not been banned and this list includes the name of Lidiya Grigoryeva.

A few days back, judges of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) issued lifetime bans to former Russian walking coach Alexei Melnikov, former Russia athletics Chief Valentin Balakhnichev, and the son of former world body president Lamine Diack over the blackmailing of athletes who failed doping tests.

Recently, evidence emerged that the IAAF was aware of the massive doping problem in Russia. Internal documents obtained by the Associated Press revealed the governing body of athletics knew of the doping issue as far back as 2009. Correspondence revealed the IAAF feared that Russian athletes could end up killing themselves due to their extensive use of blood transfusions and Erythropoietin, the blood-boosting drug. In a hand-written dated October 14, 2009 to Valentin Balakhnichev, the then Russian athletics president, Pierre Weiss, then the IAAF general secretary, wrote this matter of the Russian athletes’ blood levels is now so serious and is not getting any better [in fact possibly getting worse] that immediate and drastic action is needed. Weiss also remarked not only are these athletes cheating their fellow competitors but at these levels are putting their health and even their own lives in very serious danger.

Dick Pound, founding president of WADA, commenting on the issue said documents indicated concerned officials of the world governing body of athletics not disclosing doping bans surprised him. Pound added it is clear that there were deals and there didn’t seem to be any political will to take on Russia.

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Wednesday 13, Jan 2016

Legal Team Is Reviewing Doping Decision, Says Essendon Captain

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Essendon Captain Jobe Watson has remarked it has been difficult for the team to come to terms with the decision that found him and 33 other Australian Football League players guilty of doping offences. The suspensions mean 12 current Essendon players and the five at other clubs are suspended for the 2016 season.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal ruling of March 2015 that had initially cleared the players. The CAS panel found 34 past and present Essendon players guilty of violating anti-doping rules and suspended them for the 2016 season. The decision is expected to further damage credibility and sustainability of Essendon and may mean a likely end to some careers.

In a statement on website of the Essendon Football Club, Watson on behalf of the players said the decision announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to uphold WADA’s appeal is devastating. The Essendon Captain remarked the team is struggling to come to terms with the decision and feels it does not support firm belief of the team that we are innocent. Watson also said our legal team is conducting a thorough review of the decision and will explore any avenues available to us and added that the players would like to thank our families, our friends, our members and supporters for their unwavering support.

Watson also remarked we will not be making any further comment and ask the media to please respect our privacy during this extremely challenging period. The professional Australian Rules footballer said we would also like to thank the AFL Players Association for their ongoing support throughout the last three years.

It is widely believed that the 34 players would take Essendon to court and this could possibly mean millions of dollars would be at stake. Commenting on the CAS verdict, AFL players’ association chief executive Paul Marsh said the association would talk to the league and Essendon Football Club first. Marsh added there would be a “very high” chance of court action if the talks do not work out as expected.

Ben McDevitt, the chief executive of Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, said there were very little grounds for the players to claim they were at no significant fault.

The AFL players’ association chief said he does not believe anyone wants to drag this through the courts and add another few years to this process but added he would like to think that there could be productive discussions to try and get to this point. Marsh also remarked legal action is something that one can look at if the talks fail and added legal team of the players will now conduct a thorough review of the decision.

Federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale, a medical doctor and a former VFL player, criticized the CAS verdict and said the onus of responsibility needs to be applied further up the line to those health professionals, health administrators and other individuals who have had a role to play in what’s occurred here.

In another development, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan commented that the Brownlow Medal awarded to Watson in 2012, the game’s highest individual honor, would be reviewed in February in light of the doping verdict.

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