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Saturday 18, Apr 2015

  Stephen Dank Found Guilty By AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal

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Stephen Dank Found Guilty By AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal

The AFL anti-doping tribunal has found Stephen Dank guilty of 10 breaches. The controversial sports scientist was facing 34 charges including trafficking, attempt to trafficking and complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances.

The breaches mostly related to time of Dank with Essendon, but also included his stint with the Gold Coast Suns and dealings with a former Carlton coach.

An AFL statement read the Tribunal has found that the former Essendon support person has been found guilty of 10 breaches of the AFL Anti-Doping Code. The statement also revealed that the prohibited substances in question include Thymosin beta-4 and CJC-1295 and added that former NRL player Sandor Earl admitted to trafficking.

The tribunal said it is comfortably satisfied that Dank violated clause 11.7 of the AFL Code by attempting to traffick in, by selling, giving, transporting, sending, delivering and/or distributing to a third party or parties, namely the Essendon Football Club and athletes of the club, prohibited substances in a product known as Humanofort, namely Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), Insulin Growth Factor 2 (IGF-2), Mechano Growth Factor (MGF), Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF), Follistatin and Thymosin Beta 4, between about January 2012 and September 2012. The tribunal also said it is comfortably satisfied that the former support person violated clause 11.7 of the AFL Code by attempting to traffick in, by selling, giving, transporting, sending, delivering and/or distributing to a third party or parties, namely the Gold Coast Suns Football Club and support persons of the club, a prohibited substance, namely CJC-1295, in December 2010.

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the circumstances surrounding the case have been extremely difficult, given the amount of information and the number of parties involved and added the professionalism and diligence of the Tribunal has been greatly appreciated by the AFL.

The AFL anti-doping tribunal said it is not comfortably satisfied that Dank violated clause 11.8 of the AFL Anti-Doping Code by attempting to administer a substance prohibited both in and out-of-competition, namely Hexarelin, to various Essendon Football Club Players between about January 2012 and September 2012. It added the tribunal is not comfortably satisfied that Stephen Dank violated clause 11.6 of the AFL Anti-Doping Code by actually possessing, at various times between about January 2012 and September 2012, one or more substances prohibited both in and out-of-competition, namely Thymosin Beta 4 and/or Hexarelin, in connection with athletes (players) competition and/or training at Essendon Football Club.

It also said the tribunal is not comfortably satisfied that Dank violated clause 11.7 of the AFL Code by trafficking in, by selling, giving, transporting, sending, delivering and/or distributing to a third party or parties, namely the Essendon Football Club and athletes, prohibited substances in a product known as Humanofort, namely Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), Insulin Growth Factor 2 (IGF-2), Mechano Growth Factor (MGF), Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF), Follistatin and Thymosin Beta 4, between about January 2012 and September 2012.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is contemplating an appeal to that tribunal decision and said it is disappointed in the tribunal’s decision to clear Dank of a number of serious alleged violations.

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Monday 20, Oct 2014

  Fresh Show-Cause Notices For Essendon Players

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The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has issued fresh show-cause notices against 34 former and current Essendon players. These amended notices include 350 pages of evidence tailored for each player surrounding the alleged use of the banned peptide Thymosin beta-4.

Thymosin Beta 4 is banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. It is a peptide hormone that increases laminin-5 expression in corneal epithelium and accelerates wound healing, hair growth, and angiogenesis.

A statement issued by ASADA read the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has issued amended ‘show cause’ notices to 34 former and current Essendon football players for the use of a prohibited substance, Thymosin Beta 4, during the 2012 season. The ASADA statement reads the resumption of action against the players follows the Federal Court’s dismissal of the applications by the Essendon Football Club and James Hird on 19 September 2014 and added that ASADA has notwithstanding James Hird’s appeal of the Federal Court decision agreed to a formal request by the legal team for the bulk of the players to expedite the ‘show cause’ notice process.

The evidence covering text messages, emails, invoices, and testimony from a range of witnesses included that Thymosin beta-4 was sourced from a Shanghai factory and it was administered to Essendon players. ASADA has alleged that Thymosin beta-4 from Chinese chemical maker GL Biochem (Shanghai) Pty Ltd was administered to the current and former Essendon players during the 2012 season. However, Essendon vehemently denied use of Thymosin beta-4 and said a different and permitted type of Thymosin was used at the club.

ASADA has spoken with Shane Charter, an anti-ageing clinician and pharmacist, who was allegedly involved in the supply of the substance to Essendon. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority also has text messages from Stephen Dank, the Bombers’ former sports scientist, in which the effects of a “Thymosin” have been described, which the Australian Football League has argued could only be attained from the banned form. Charter has alleged that Stephen Dank asked him to source Thymosin beta-4 in quantities that would be sufficient to treat a football team. Charter, who has run anti-ageing clinics, said Thymosin beta-4 was delivered to pharmacist Nima Alavi, of Como Compounding to be collected by Dank. The claims of Charter have been checked with Customs by investigators.

Nima Alavi, who initially refused to help the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority citing legal advice, provided evidence to investigators and alleged that the substance sourced by Charter arrived at his pharmacy marked simply as “Thymosin” and Stephen Dank took it from him to be tested at a Melbourne lab. Alavi also revealed that Dank told him later that the chemicals were not up to the mark and had been destroyed by Mimotopes, the lab, which reportedly has no record of receiving or destroying peptides from Dank in early 2012.

Industry insiders believe that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority decided to pursue anti-doping charges against Essendon after the case’s independent reviews backed the move as the evidence was deemed to satisfy the standard of proof in anti-doping cases.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Fresh Show-Cause Notices For Essendon Players

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.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Banned Anti-Obesity Drug Was Administered To Essendon Players