Senior managers from the Essendon Football Club, including coach James Hird, have been charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the AFL over its supplements program in 2011-2012.
The club itself has also been charged.
The development has been anticipated but the AFL’s decision to charge the five officials and the club is a turning point in the ongoing investigations into the use of supplements in Australian sport.
Rugby league’s Cronulla Sharks are also under the spotlight. Their CEO quit in anger two weeks ago when the board decided to reappoint four club staffers linked to the 2011 season under investigation.
At the moment it’s only Essendon club management – Hird, his assistant Mark Thompson, club doctor Bruce Reid and football manager Danny Corcoran – that are facing charges.
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said no player had been charged with any infringement:
“In relation to the Essendon players I can advise that although WADA has declared AOD9604 is a banned substance, on the information currently before the AFL there is no specific anti-doping rule violation attributed to any individual player for the use of AOD9604 or any other prohibited substance,” Dillon said.
In a statement, the club said the charges would be “vigorously defended”
Now that charges have been laid, the Club and individuals involved are in a far better position to focus on understanding the specific nature of the allegations and the evidence upon which the AFL has relied to lay the charges.
Essendon takes these matters very seriously. They are based on assertions contained in an interim report from ASADA and will be vigorously defended.
These are very complex matters and whilst the Essendon Football Club is determined to resolve them expeditiously, that cannot be at the expense of thoroughness and due process that affords all parties natural justice to ensure a fair outcome.
The full statement’s here.
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