Substance Allegedly Used By Essendon Players Is A Banned Substance

A substance alleged to have been used by Essendon players last year is a banned substance, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The alleged anti-obesity drug AOD-9604, which has not been cleared for human use, was administered to at least six Essendon players last year by controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank.

There however is enough scope for confusion as the status of the substance with the Australian Crime Commission stating in its Drugs in Sport report that the drug was not yet banned. But WADA issued a statement that suggested the drug had not been approved for human use it was a banned substance. The statement said, AOD-9604 is a substance still under pre-clinical and clinical development and has not been approved for therapeutic use by any government health authority in the world. As per the statement, the substance falls into the S.0 category, under the 2013 Prohibited Substances and Methods List, which states: any pharmacological substance which is not addressed by any of the subsequent sections of the List and with no current approval by any governmental regulatory health authority for human therapeutic use (e.g. Drugs under pre-clinical or clinical development or discontinued, designer drugs, substances approved only for veterinary use) is prohibited at all times.

Sports scientists Dank has reportedly said he injected Essendon players with the anti-obesity drug. Metabolic Pharmacy chief executive David Kenley, whose company holds the worldwide rights to AOD, said he had often discussed the drug with Dank and said he believes some Essendon players used the drug to help them recover from injury more quickly. Kenley remarked he understands it used by about half a dozen footballers at Essendon purely to assist in soft tissue injury and to aid the recovery so that the players that were injured could get back onto the pitch quicker.

Richard Ings, former head of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, said any player using AOD 9604 after 2011 has a serious case to answer and added that the announcement by WADA is extremely significant and said one of the threshold questions in this whole investigation has been the status of AOD 9604 and WADA has definitively said that it is classified as a banned substance under the WADA.

The WADA statement comes as the bodybuilder and biochemist Charter claimed he helped elite footballers dope and dodge blood tests that cast fresh doubt on the adequacy of existing sports drug testing regimens. Charter, represented by celebrity agent Max Markson, is believed to have extensive knowledge of sports doping practices not only within football but several other sports. He was however adamant that Essendon coach James Hird had not used banned substances and said James is proud of the fact that he was able to help him in his twilight years to get that extra season out of him. In the year 2004, the Charter was charged with bringing millions of dollars worth of pseudoephedrine into Australia.

According to a report in the Herald Sun, Charter was an associate of the late underworld figure John Giannarelli, a sports agent who has represented athletes including Olympic swimmer Scott Miller and jockey Simon Marshall.

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