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SBD Global/August 9, 2013/Franchises

AFL Players Association Says Essendon Senior Football Staff Failed Players

The Australian Football League Players Association on Thursday left AFL club Essendon's senior list in no doubt as to its "grave disappointment in senior football staffers it believes failed its players," according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. While AFLPA CEO Matt Finnis stopped short of threatening separate legal action at this stage against the club, he added "he had not closed the door" on that option. Those staffers are understood to include football operations boss Danny Corcoran and coach James Hird, "although the AFLPA was careful not to name names at Thursday's address to the players." Several Bombers players "were left sobered by the meeting at the club with Finnis and his legal team" (THE AGE, 8/9). In Melbourne, Grant Baker wrote Finnis said that whether some substances taken by Essendon players were on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list "was secondary to their health and wellbeing." Finnis: "I think the most important thing to come from it is that no player is ever put in a position like the Essendon players have been, again" (HERALD SUN, 8/8). In Sydney, Jon Ralph wrote AFL Commissioner Linda Dessau "will sit in judgment of Essendon despite strong links to the club." The recently retired Family Court judge "is the founding chair of the Essendon Women's Network, and has long had a close connection with the Bombers." Fellow Commissioner Bill Kelty "has absented himself from commission discussions on the Bombers" because of his close friendship with Hird and former Chair David Evans. But Dessau is said to be confident in her ability to judge a club she has long supported and "is prepared to consider penalties when the AFL charges the club." She is held in high regard in the legal community, "and will be one of eight commissioners likely to decide Essendon's fate" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/8).
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