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Wednesday 29, Jul 2015

  Collingwood Pair Handed AFL Infraction Notices

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Infraction notices have been issued to Collingwood players Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas by AFL general Counsel Andrew Dillon after the Australian Football League was notified by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority that Keeffe and Thomas had potentially breached the league’s anti-doping code.

Keeffe and Thomas tested positive to Clenbuterol in February. Clenbuterol is not a specified substance on the AFL’s prohibited list but is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The Collingwood players have been provisionally suspended since March and are likely to face bans of two years, according to Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert. It was remarked by Pert that they are still young guys and their careers are not over as they are in a process where it appears a likely outcome is a two-year suspension, from everything that we are hearing. The Collingwood chief executive also remarked it is for both players to decide whether they’re going to contest – whether they want to say they accept the ruling or not, or the severity of the penalty, and added they will advise ASADA once they have made that decision. Pert remarked if the players decide to contest it, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority would advise the Australian Football League that will then organize a tribunal hearing.

The 25-year-old Keeffe is a key-position player and has played 40 matches for the Magpies, including 18 in 2014. On the other hand, the 23-year-old Thomas has played 32 games for Collingwood after debuting in 2013.

In another development, Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley returned to Dockers’ training for the first time since serving his backdated suspension of one year after he tested positive to a banned painkiller. The 31-year-old opens the possibility of him returning to the Fremantle lineup for the last two weeks of the finals series if the Dockers are able to make it that far. The return of Crowley was made possible after it was found by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal that he did not intentionally breach the anti-doping code. In a statement, ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt said we note the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal found Crowley did not intend to violate the World Anti-Doping Code and remarked this case illustrates the dangers of inadvertent doping. McDevitt also commented athletes need to be careful about what they take, even if they don’t intend to cheat. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority decided not to appeal against the length of Crowley’s ban.

Ryan Crowley remarked at the time of provisional suspension that he deeply regretted his actions and he genuinely never intentionally meant to do the wrong thing. Crowley has played 188 games for the club since he was drafted in 2002. The 31-year-old won the club’s best and fairest in 2012 and had become one of the premier taggers in the competition under Coach Ross Lyon. Pending the finding by the AFL anti-doping tribunal, Crowley was provisionally banned for the first 10 weeks of the 2015 season. However, the three-person tribunal, comprising of chairman David Jones, former judge John Nixon and Dr Susan White, decided not to impose heavy sanction against Crowley.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Collingwood Pair Handed AFL Infraction Notices

Tuesday 12, May 2015

  WADA To Appeal Against AFL Tribunal Decision

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WADA To Appeal Against AFL Tribunal Decision

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced it will appeal against decision of the Australian Football League to clear 34 current and former top players of taking banned supplements.

In March, the AFL anti-doping tribunal unanimously decided that it was not “comfortably satisfied” that players from the Essendon club had violated the anti-doping rules during the 2012 season. Last year, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) referred the case to the Australian Football League. Surprisingly, ASADA decided not to appeal the findings when the AFL Tribunal when it cleared all 34 Essendon players.

WADA announced that it would soon take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. WADA director general David Howman said we have now completed our independent review of the full case file on the AFL Anti-Doping Appeals Tribunal decision regarding 34 current and former Essendon players. Howman added WADA, after a thorough examination of the evidence contained within the file, has decided to lodge its independent right of appeal to the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A WADA statement reads as with all pending cases, and adhering to the proper and normal respect for the integrity of the legal process, WADA will refrain from commenting further on the subject until a decision has been made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Essendon chairman Paul Little expressed surprise at decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Meanwhile, ASADA welcomed the announcement and offered to provide its full support. Little added now it looks like we have to jump back on the horse and sort of get into the process again of defending our boys and our club. ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt said the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has handed over a comprehensive brief of evidence to assist WADA in its preparation for the CAS hearing.

Essendon coach James Hird remarked that Essendon players will “prove their innocence again.” Hird remarked there is no doubt it will cause stress again but we’re prepared to go through it and went on to add that we believe in the players’ innocence, they’ve been proven innocent once and they will be proven innocent again. Hird also remarked that we are extremely disappointed for the players who have had to endure over two years of uncertainty and will now have to endure further stress and the inevitable disruption to their playing careers. The coach of Essendon club also commented that we will be in a position to comment on this matter further once we have consulted with the players’ legal team and the players involved.

Peter Jess, a player agent to two of the 34 Essendon players, remarked that this whole process has been incredibly demanding on the playing group and added it drags them back into the vortex of a demoralizing and energy sapping investigation, which no player should rightfully have to go through.

Tim Watson, the father of Essendon captain Jobe Watson, remarked the players got to a point where they were able to compartmentalize the whole thing, and they all breathed that sigh of relief when they heard the tribunal’s closure and now it’s going to be reopened.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: WADA To Appeal Against AFL Tribunal Decision

Sunday 22, Jun 2014

  Players Disappointed With Lack Of Clarity On AOD-9604

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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.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Players Disappointed With Lack Of Clarity On AOD-9604

Saturday 21, Apr 2012

  AFL cover-up in drug scandal claimed by Justin Charles

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Justin Charles, the former Tiger, has revealed that he continued playing even after confessing his steroid use to the AFL.

In 1997, Charles was banned for sixteen weeks after he tested positive to anabolic steroids.

In the 1997 pre-season, Charles took the banned drug, boldenone, six times over four weeks while injured.

Tuesday 26, Oct 2010

  AFL drugs policy should guard the sick

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AFL drugs policy should guard the sickThe illicit drugs policy of AFL, which was introduced in 2005, stressed upon the confidentiality factor to avoid risking the health and rehabilitation chances of a player. However, it failed to serve its vision after Travis Tuck of Hawthorn was named, fined and suspended.

Tuck was not a drug addict but using drugs for treating a mental health issue and feels betrayed by a policy that was contrived and compromised from birth.

After the incident, there have been endless calls to change the illicit drugs policy of the AFL on an immediate basis.

Thursday 30, Sep 2010

  Sick must be protected by AFL drugs code

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Sick must be protected by AFL drugs codeThe illicit drugs policy introduced by the AFL in 2005 emphasized upon confidentiality for avoiding the risk of endangering a player’s health and affected  chances of rehabilitation but it failed to deliver its core objective after Hawthorn’s Travis Tuck was named, fined and suspended.

Tuck was not addicted to drugs but had a mental health issue and will possibly be left betrayed by a policy that was contrived and compromised from birth.

The undiluted arrogance of AFL has surely betrayed Tuck and there are calls to change the illicit drugs policy of the league on an immediate basis.