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Wednesday 27, Aug 2014

  Doping Offer Of Reduced Bans Rejected By Essendon

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Doping Offer Of Reduced Bans Rejected By Essendon

A proposal by Australian Football League (AFL) has been rejected by Essendon Bombers that would have allowed players accused of doping to stand down voluntarily from club duties. This proposal would also have reduced any future bans on the accused players. The definitive six-month suspension would have seen Essendon players facing anti-doping sanctions to miss the last four games of the home-and-away season and finals but return in time for round one of 2015.

Recently, it was rumored that Essendon players were thinking about taking about “insurance” against future penalties imposed by anti-doping authorities. Under the discussed terms, 34 current and former Essendon players who are accused of using a banned peptide (Thymosin Beta-4) would start a self-imposed suspension after final match of the club for the season and remain away from the club until mid-January. The time served, under a provision within the World Anti-Doping Code, may be used to offset any ban that gets imposed against players at a future date when found guilty of a doping offence.

Essendon players, while being stood down, may be prohibited from training at the Tullamarine facility of the club but were allowed to train as a group off-site. This proposal was presented to the board of Essendon Bombers as having the in-principle support of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) though it now becomes apparent that the anti-doping authority did not have idea of the discussion of AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan with club president Paul Little.

Last Thursday, the Essendon board met at Melbourne’s Hyatt Hotel and unanimously rejected the offer. In a carefully worded statement, club president Paul Little said he had met with McLachlan but denied that a deal like Cronulla-style was offered. Little remarked a number of things were discussed but no offer was put to the club concerning any arrangements about players making admissions in return for agreed sanctions. Little also said the Essendon Football Club board were fully briefed on these discussions and will continue to act and make decisions in the best interest of our players.

ASADA chief Ben McDevitt said it would be completely inappropriate and quite contemptuous to negotiate with Essendon before the legality of ASADA’s investigation is ruled by the Federal Court.

AFLPA’s acting chief executive Ian Prendergast reiterated that any decision over sanctions was up to the players. In a statement, Prendergast said the 34 players continue to be represented by the legal team consisting of David Grace QC, Ben Ihle, AFL Players Association lawyers Brett Murphy and Bernie Shinners, and Tony Hargreaves. He also remarked the players’ legal team is independent of the Essendon FC and is focused solely on protecting the best interests of the 34 players who have been issued show-cause Notices by ASADA and also said the 34 players are the ones who will ultimately decide how they wish to proceed in this matter.

In another development, Essendon coach James Hird returned to work after serving a 12-month ban imposed by AFL for failure on his part to prevent the ill-fated supplements regime of the club that was designed by sports scientist Stephen Dank.

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Monday 23, Sep 2013

  Sydney Roosters Set To Be Embroiled In Controversy

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Sydney Roosters Set To Be Embroiled In Controversy

Minor premiers Sydney Premiers can be dragged into the doping investigations of the National Rugby League. This was after two of their players are expected to be interviewed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA).

It is rumored that the names of Sydney Roosters‘ players came up during the investigation of Sandor Earl, the Canberra Raiders star, who recently admitted to using and trafficking banned peptides. It was confirmed by Roosters CEO Brian Canavan that officials were aware of the rumors but the club was not yet contacted by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency. Canavan remarked we are not aware of any investigation though we are aware that some rumors are circulating that a couple of players and ex-players may be interviewed. He added the club has the highest standards in their own governance practice and procedures and is totally compliant with the integrity unit’s practices and procedures.

According to Daily Telegraph, the club has been implicated because of a common party between Sydney Roosters and Earl, who started his career at Bondi Junction before he moved to Penrith in 2010. Meanwhile, the camp of Earl has denied rumors that the 23-year-old has provided any information about other players of the National Rugby League to ASADA. It is believed that Earl actually provided evidence about sports scientists Steve Dank for obtaining a significant assistance in getting his ban cut from 4 years to 1 year.

According to an announcement by National Rugby League (NRL) chief Dave Smith, an infraction notice was issued to Sandor Earl as a result of the ongoing ASADA investigation. Smith added that the infraction notice is a result of an interview between the player and ASADA in which admissions were made into the use and trafficking of the peptide CJC-1295. The New Zealand-born Canberra Raiders winger may accept the punishment of the league or elect to take the matter to a tribunal, Smith said. Meanwhile, the coach of Australian Rules club Essendon Bombers has been suspended for 12 months and the club was thrown out of the playoffs as a result of the ASADA probe. This was after it was found that the club used its players as guinea pigs in an experimental and possibly illegal supplements regime in 2011-12.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency has already interviewed more than 40 players and officials from Newcastle, Parramatta, Manly, Cronulla, Penrith, Gold Coast, and North Queensland. Three full-time investigators have been appointed by ASADA to the investigation of NRL since August and its powers included using phone records, emails, and other modes of communications as evidence for summoning officials and players for interviews.

It is believed that senior officials and staff including Sharks coach, Shane Flanagan, former strength and conditioning coach, Trent Elkin (now associated with Parramatta), and others are in the firing line for their failure to take care of players when Steve Dank oversaw their supplements program. While Dank has refused to be interviewed by the AFL, the NRL, or ASADA, the senior officials and staff members in the firing line have denied they were involved in any peptide injection program at the club.

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