WADA v Essendon: a little snapshot

As you can see if you’ve gone on any Australian news site in the past two days, WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) has appealed against the Essendon Bombers (an AFL club) after the AFL (Australian Football League) and ASADA (Australian Sport Anti-Doping Authority) found them not guilty on March 31. Here is the full statement that the AFL and ASADA made in March 31, as found on afl.com.au (the AFL website):

The Tribunal today handed down its decision, which was unanimous, and reasons for the decision with respect to the alleged violation by 34 players of the AFL Anti-Doping Code.

The Tribunal was comfortably satisfied that the substance Thymosin Beta-4 was at the relevant time a prohibited substance under the Code.

The Tribunal was not comfortably satisfied that any player was administered Thymosin Beta-4.

The Tribunal was not comfortably satisfied that any player violated clause 11.2 of the AFL Anti-Doping Code.

The Tribunal’s decision in relation to the violations under the Code alleged against a former Essendon support person will be handed down at a later date, together with reasons for that decision.

The Tribunal’s decision and reasons have been provided to the parties in accordance with the function performed by the Tribunal. That function does not include the provision of the decision and reasons to other persons. Any publication of the Tribunal’s decision and reasons is a matter for the parties.

And here is Clause 11.2 of the AFL Anti-Doping Code:

11.2 Authority to conduct Testing

(a) Any Player may be required to provide a Sample at any time and at any place by a Testing Authority or the AFL.

(b) For the avoidance of doubt, ASADA may require any Player (including any Player serving a period of Ineligibility) to provide a Sample at any time and at any place.

(c) WADA shall have In-Competition and Out-of-Competition Testing authority as set out in Article 20.7.8 of the WADA Code.

(d) If the AFL delegates or contracts any part of Testing to a National Anti-Doping Organisation, that National Anti-Doping Organisation may collect additional Samples or direct the laboratory to perform additional types of analysis at the National Anti-Doping Organisation’s expense. If additional Samples are collected or additional types of analysis are performed, the AFL shall be notified.

And here is Article 20.7.8 from WADA’s code (my god, this is just a game of follow the clues):

To conduct, in exceptional circumstances and at the direction of the WADA Director General, Doping Controls on its own initiative or as requested by other Anti-Doping Organizations, and to cooperate with relevant national and international organizations and agencies, including but not limited to, facilitating inquiries and investigations.

WADA has named the 34 current and former Essendon players (which, unfortunately, includes Stewart Crameri. Why does everything have to disadvantage the Bulldogs?), but then immediately retracted it. But, not enough to stop the Herald Sun publishing the names.

So, basically the drug cheats Essendon players get tossed right back in to this crazy game. They could all get rested, so they could have backdated bans, but the cost of that is a hopeless team. The AFL and ASADA dictated affairs last time, but now they have no say. The Essendon 34, James Hird, Stephen Dank…they are all just pieces in WADA’s game.

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