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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.

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Thursday 30, May 2013

  Substance Allegedly Used By Essendon Players Is A Banned Substance

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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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Sunday 05, May 2013

  Banned Anti-Obesity Drug Was Administered To Essendon Players

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Banned Anti-Obesity Drug Was Administered To Essendon Players

The Essendon Football Club, on the eve of ANZAC Day, made a public admission that the anti-obesity drug AOD-9604 had been administered to some of its players last year.

The announcement comes as devastating news for the Melbourne Football Club, with the World Anti-Doping Agency stating categorically that AOD-9604 is a banned substance. The determination of WADA was made with respect to substances that are prohibited at all times and appears under the heading ‘Non-Approved Substances’ as 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 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.

Many in the sports fraternity said the banning by WADA of AOD-9604 with regard to it having never received government regulatory approval would not carry weight retrospectively, but the wording of the relevant clause is a ‘catch-all’ that encompasses all and any drugs that have failed to receive the necessary tick required for human use. There have also been claims going around that WADA had earlier provided, in writing, a determination that AOD-9604 was indeed not a banned substance and the Bombers said they relied on the authenticity of that document with respect to the use of the drug.

John Fahey, the head of WADA, said he has never heard of WADA informing an individual club on what’s on the prohibited list. The section relating to ‘Non-Approved Substances’ is numbered S0, which comes before a group of other sections numbered S1 to S5 that cover the full gamut of drugs specifically banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency Code – like anabolic agents, peptides, EPO, and masking agents.

The use of AOD-9604, in accordance with the WADA code, brings with it the standard two-year ban. A reading of the explanatory notes within the WADA Code attached to rules 10.5.1 and 10.5.2 indicates that players banned for administering AOD-9604 will have a very hard time getting their penalties overturned as the notes specify the administration of a prohibited substance by the athlete’s personal physician or trainer without disclosure to the athlete does not constitute an acceptable excuse to have a ban overturned.

If the bans are imposed, it could be argued that the players were simply complying with instructions given to them by people they believed were in a position of trust, who had been installed within the club by its administration after a test of due diligence and it may be said the young men in question were simply acting on good faith when asked to submit to certain medical protocols. The examples of young athletes in countries like East Germany back in the 1970s and ’80s can be cited wherein athletes took sinister substances like testosterone and anabolic steroids after being wrongly told that there were only vitamin pills.

However, a big majority of sports thinkers believe it is hard to see any leniency being granted to those who were administered banned substances given the framework of the WADA Code and the way it has been applied since it was codified.

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