Players Disappointed With Lack Of Clarity On AOD-9604

The Australian Football League (AFL) Players Association is disappointed that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority took so long for publicly clarifying its stance on AOD-9604, a modified fragment of human growth hormone.

The AFLPA expressed confidence that players will not face any more questioning about the drug. Recently, Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority chief executive Ben McDevitt remarked his organization does not have plans to pursue any alleged use of AOD-9604 prior to April, 2013. A few days back, former Melbourne captain Jack Trengove was cleared by ASADA with no chance of prosecution over his alleged use of AOD-9604. Trengove was linked by texts from biochemist Stephen Dank emerged in April 2013 to the use of a cream containing AOD-9604 in 2012 as he recovered from a foot injury.

It was confirmed by the World Anti-Doping Agency on April 22, 2013 that AOD-9604 was a banned substance under the S.0 category of the WADA code though Essendon argued it was permitted. ASADA remarked it will not pursue anti-doping cases related to the peptide AOD- 9604 prior to 22 April, 2013 and added WADA publicly stated for the first time on 22 April 2013 that AOD-9604 was a prohibited substance in sport. It added that ASADA cannot take the position that prior to April 2013 athletes and support personnel could have known that AOD-9604 was in fact a prohibited substance and also remarked that pursuing anti-doping rule violations that relate to this substance prior to 22 April, 2013 would be unsuccessful and unfair to athletes.

Acting AFLPA chief executive Ian Prendergas remarked we do not believe that ASADA will take any further step through the Essendon investigation in relation to AOD-9604 given the comments of the ASADA chief executive.

A few weeks ago, Essendon chairman Paul Little said in a statement that Essendon has filed an application in the Australian Federal Court to have the case of ASADA declared “null and void” and added the action had been taken on the basis that the joint investigation conducted by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority with the Australian Football League contravened the ASADA Act. The Essendon chairman remarked our players have been forced to endure 16 months of uncertainty, breaches of confidentiality, conflicts of interest, leaks through the media, baseless allegations, and indisputable reputational damage.

AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the players should be given space and support to pursue their legal rights and added this process has gone on too long. Fitzpatrick added he is extremely disappointed that the players are in this position and went on to remark that the interim report into the Essendon supplement program in 2012 outlined very serious breaches of our rules and it was clear that the program subjected our players to unacceptable risks and one of those risks is playing out now. Fitzpatrick reiterated his belief that all Essendon players have already revealed all what they knew to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and said the players from the outset of the investigation have fully co-operated with all requests and inquiries made of them.

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