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SBD Global/June 26, 2013/Franchises

AFL Club Essendon Player Jobe Watson May Face Anti-Doping Rule Violation Charges

Australian Football League Essendon captain Jobe Watson's deliberate admission that he took a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency on the advice of his football club "has again exposed Essendon's recklessness and failure to care for the welfare of its most precious asset," according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. The Brownlow medalist, "sincere in his defiant stand that he had done nothing wrong, has also raised serious questions about the role of club doctor Bruce Reid in the sorry affair" and -- in the short term -- placed more pressure on the AFL. Watson's revelations on Fox Footy on Monday night "presumably duplicated what he told the AFL and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority." Watson: "I signed that consent form. My understanding after it being given through Bruce Reid and the club that I was receiving AOD. (I believed) that it was legal at the time and that's what I was told I was being given." Watson on Monday night was referring to AOD-9604 -- "an anti-obesity drug also promoted for its qualities in helping athletes' endurance and running abilities." Whatever Essendon, ASADA and sports scientist Stephen Dank may claim, the fact is WADA "has confirmed the drug was banned because it had not been approved for human use" (THE AGE, 6/26). In Melbourne, Samantha Lane wrote former ASADA CEO Richard Ings said that "any suspensions will have to include a significant number of matches." Under WADA rules, "athletes found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation face suspensions between six months and two years." Ings forecast "complex legal challenges about the status of the substance," but said that it is inevitable Watson "will face anti-doping rule violation charges." Ings: "I cannot see a path ... that does not involve one or more individuals being found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation" (THE AGE, 6/26). Also in Melbourne, Eliza Sewell wrote AFL Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan said that this week he expected the ASADA probe into Essendon's supplements use in the '12 season "to be completed by mid-August." The AFL would not comment on the Watson bombshell, saying that "the investigation had to run its course." Essendon "made no admissions" Tuesday (HERALD SUN, 6/26).

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