Half-time in the Essendon doping saga

johnhunt92 Roar Guru

By johnhunt92, johnhunt92 is a Roar Guru

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28 Have your say

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    In the end, the ‘Switkowski Report’ delivered Essendon what it expected and wanted to hear.

    There was no dramatic revelations, no calls for immediate sackings or recommendations for sweeping overhauls despite the pedantic predictions by some in the media.

    The key finding was that abnormalities had existed behind the charade of poor management and a lack of medical input.

    This was no surprise as David Evans has constantly admitted since February that ‘irregular practices’ had lived between November 2011 and September 2012.

    Importantly, the former Telstra CEO found no evidence that instructions were given for the clubs program to break WADA and ASADA rules.

    As Switkowski wrote, while the club was looking to push the legal limit, ‘clear instructions were given to not cross the line and to stay within the WADA and ASADA codes’.

    While it seems that Essendon were exonerated in most places, there were a few points that were slated by Dr Switkowski.

    The report exposed grave concerns with how medical staff members were kept out of the loop on crucial decisions as members of the fitness team considered them ‘yesterday’s men – not abreast of the most modern sports science methodologies, excessively conventional, and pharmacologically illiterate. They were ‘part of the problem, not part of the solution.’

    But apart from those issues, the report really repeated what we and the football already knew yet Essendon seem not to know.

    Its first key finding was ‘football clubs are changing and growing’ (duh!) while another key finding was that there were ‘failures in structure and accountability’.

    While I hate to sound repetitive again I repeat; duh! The report’s recommendations had some interesting titbits to consider.

    Surprisingly, it didn’t call for a blanket ban on IV drips but rather called for justifiable reasons to be made before performing them.

    Another interesting recommendation was on the role of General Manager-Football Operations.

    Far from slamming Paul Hamilton and Danny Cochran, it cut them some slack calling the role a ‘difficult position’ because it involved directing and working with ‘alpha males’.

    While not calling for change, the report detailed that the GM of Football Operations must be strong and ready essentially be the tough guy of the department.

    However, some recommendations read like a good episode of The Office. For example, recommendation five states that ‘the CEO must be accountable for everything that happens within his organization’.

    Even cartoon character Monty Burns (who remember polluted a lake with nuclear waste) knows that recommendation.

    Although Switkowski’s report finds no major problems and only calls for some structural (not personnel) changes, this report does not clear the Bombers period.

    While this inquiry was necessary, it’s too narrow to completely absolve Essendon Football Club.

    The next phase is the ASADA investigation into what was taken by players and how it was taken.

    This inquiry has more scope and more powers to investigate.

    While the Switkowski report investigated the periphery, ASADA’s investigation goes to heart of whether the club breached the doping policies.

    Essentially ASADA will determine what we really need to know; did the Essendon Football Club cheat to get ahead of the competition?

    Even the smallest guilty finding will put the Essendon Football Club in serious trouble that will force a mass exodus of staff.

    This alone is for ASADA to determine, not an internal report on structure and accountability.

    While David Evans can sleep a little easier tonight, tomorrow will once again bring more anxiety as the realisation will hit the club that true judgment day has yet to come.

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • Roar Guru

      May 8th 2013 @ 8:56am
      Redb said | May 8th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      The Ziggy report never intended to tackle an issue already under investigation by ASADA and the AFL.

      It was a report specificially for the Essendon Board and members. The AFL and general public as interested parties were given an insight into what the report has found and the Essendon Chairman has done a mea cupla.

      It was never meant to cross over into ASADA territory, perhaps you misunderstood the brief?

      • May 8th 2013 @ 9:59am
        The Umpire Strikes Back said | May 8th 2013 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Yes, but if it was a fair dinkum “independent” report into the board and administration it would be calling for the sacking of (a) Hird for deliberately isolating the old medical staff and employing a reckless ‘whatever it takes’ supplement regime and (b) the GM or whoever lost Reid’s letter that raised these very “reckless” concerns. Forget about whether any of the doping was in or outside ASADA, the ‘management processes’ were extremely poor and reckless and in most companies or organisations with a board, they would be calling for peoples’ heads to roll.

        Lets be honest. It was pretty much a half baked exercise in the end designed more for PR than anything else.

        • Roar Guru

          May 8th 2013 @ 10:05am
          Redb said | May 8th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          Don’t substitute your wishlist statement of a) or b) for anything remotely independent nor having a clue?

          Is that you Caro? lol

          • May 8th 2013 @ 3:19pm
            The Umpire Strikes Back said | May 8th 2013 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

            You should apply for a position at Windy Hill. You’d fit in well. Seriously, you would.

            • Roar Guru

              May 8th 2013 @ 4:06pm
              Redb said | May 8th 2013 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

              Who you do support?

    • May 8th 2013 @ 10:04am
      Richard said | May 8th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      It was done for the board and the whole report was not released publicly. A copy of the full report was given to the afl and ASADA given their ongoing investigations. Dank and Robinson were not interviewed so the report was incomplete from the get go. Yes the report was not intended to address the doping allegations however the results were damning and showed a culture of imis-management at best. Evans stated that he did not know why the letter from the club doctor did not make it to the board nor who had it. He either knows or for legal reasons cannot say. First and foremost, my thoughts are with the players and i hope that no doping related allegations will be proven. But again, I am surprised at how bullish the club and supporters are given that Essendons reputation has taken a beating, as has the afl competition. There are no winners in any of this and this has a way to run yet.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2013 @ 10:12am
        Redb said | May 8th 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        We are bullish for a reason.

    • May 8th 2013 @ 10:09am
      Richard said | May 8th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

      I agree with your comments Umpire STrikes back. I unfortunately think others don’t understand the full context of the ramifications of the report, nor the optics of it. I appreciate and applaud the right of a supporter to defend his or her’s club and loyalty is important. No doubt that Evans will get re-elected. But the true test will be whether or not the board can make the necessary tough decisions on staff members and whether the afl is strong enough to act as well or whether this will be another melbourne or Adelaide debacle.

    • May 8th 2013 @ 10:15am
      Richard said | May 8th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      Wishlist….I am not a supporter of essendon but I like the club and i like to watch them play. I respect their history. My wish list is to see their players cleared, the allegations of doping to be proven incorrect and for a strong essendon to continue playing the football they are playing and challenge strongly in September. But if the mis-management doesn’t get acted upon appropriately and this whole thing blows over, then I think that is a very sad day for the competition as a whole. I reckon that’s all any fair minded person would like to see. Basic common sense.

      • May 8th 2013 @ 10:35am
        Franko said | May 8th 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        I tend to disagree Richard. This is not the first time Essendon have been under a major cloud. They have been fined for cheating between 91 and 96 and they cheated again in 03 when they breached the cap. Now we have this potentially destroying the ’13 season due to their innability to tell everybody what exactly their players have been injected with.
        And this is what we know, you have to wonder what we don’t know about their dealings in the past.

        • Roar Guru

          May 8th 2013 @ 12:30pm
          Redb said | May 8th 2013 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          oh dear. 🙂

    • May 8th 2013 @ 10:19am
      Richard said | May 8th 2013 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      Football wise, you have every right to be bullish and that’s great to see. Doping allegations wise…the club appears to be very bullish and that apparently is backed up by 2 pharma experts which again is great to see. Corp governance wise…I don’t understand the bullishness and essendon members should not be so quick to re-elect Evans. They should be demanding to know the whys and wherefore a about the management of their club off the field instead of blindly accepting everything they are told.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2013 @ 10:53am
        Redb said | May 8th 2013 @ 10:53am | ! Report


        I think most Essendon members feel he has been impressive through this whole saga. As a member I will vote for him. The election is in November I would expect management action in the weeks and months ahead.

        This has happened on his watch but hindsight is such wonderful thing. I think what has happened to Essendon has been an extraordinary flux of events.

        There will come a time to look at roles but the priority has to be the players, all other considerations are secondary at the moment. There is no doubt the club on and off field is doing well and it’s leaders are getting the best out of them.

    • May 8th 2013 @ 1:15pm
      Swampy said | May 8th 2013 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

      The hate is back redb, properly back – Bombers must be a contender, good signs.

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

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