AFL releases full documents detailing Bombers charge
Bombers Coach James Hird looks on during the 2013 AFL Round 20 match between the Essendon Bombers and the West Coast Eagles at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on August 11, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
The AFL has issued a statement detailing the grounds on which it has charged Essendon with bringing the game into disrepute.
The league has also called a special meeting for Thursday to brief all clubs on the charges it has laid against the Bombers.
AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick will brief the presidents of all 18 clubs at the meeting, at AFL House at 3pm (AEST).
The AFL noted the statement of grounds were charges only, with their correctness or otherwise still to be determined.
In them, the league said the Bombers either allowed players to be administered substances that were prohibited by the AFL Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code, or, alternatively, the club was unable to determine whether players were administered substances prohibited by the two codes.
They AFL also listed a long series of failing by the Bombers, which they said created the circumstances for that to occur.
They included that the Bombers:
* engaged in practices that exposed players to significant risks to their health and safety as well as the risk of using substances that were prohibited by the AFL Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code.
* disregarded standard practices involving the human resources department when employing high performance manager Dean Robinson and sports scientist Stephen Dank, both have whom have since left the club.
* failed to devise or implement any adequate system or process to ensure that all substances provided to and used by players were safe and were compliant with the AFL Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code.
* failed to have proper regard to player health and safety, including failing to ensure that all substances had no potentially negative effects on players.
* failed to identify and record the source from which all substances used by players were obtained.
* failed to adequately monitor and record the use of substances.
* failed to audit or monitor all substances held on the premises of the club.
* failed to meaningfully inform players of the substances the subject of the program and obtain their informed consent to the administration of the substances.
* failed to take any appropriate and adequate action when it became aware of facts that strongly suggested that unsatisfactory and potentially risky practices were occurring in relation to the administration of supplements.
* created or permitted a culture at the club that legitimised and encouraged the frequent, uninformed and unregulated use of the injection of supplements.
* failed to adequately protect the health, welfare and safety of the players.
The league also said that between August 2011 and the end of 2011, the club became aware that its supplements program for the 2012 season was to push to the legal limit.
It was also to involve innovative supplement practices using exotic, mysterious and unfamiliar compounds.
The fitness strategy and supplement use would vary sharply from previous practices at Essendon.
It would also involve injecting players with an unprecedented frequency.
The AFL said coach James Hird, then-chief executive Ian Robson and Robinson determined it would be “cutting-edge”.
The AFL said the Bombers didn’t thoroughly analyse either the risks to player health and safety or the advantages of the program.
They did not seek meaningful input from appropriately qualified persons, nor did they have a clear framework of accountability and authority between the board, chief executive, football department officials and Robinson and Dank.
The league also said Hird was interviewed by an officer of ASADA and an officer of the AFL Integrity Unit on August 5, 2011, after earlier making an inquiry about peptides.
He was told by the AFL’s manager of integrity services that peptides were a serious risk to the integrity of the AFL, in the same category as steroids and HGH and told to report to the AFL if he came across any information relating to peptides.
Danny Corcoran, who was then the Bombers’ people and development manager and is now football manager, and then-football manager Paul Hamilton were both present at the meeting, the AFL said.
Hird, Corcoran, assistant coach Mark Thompson and club doctor Bruce Reid have all been charged by the AFL with bringing the game into disrepute, as has the club itself.© AAP 2014
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