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SBD Global/December 5, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
A Year Of Exile For Australian Football League's James Hird, Essendon Examined
Published December 5, 2013
VEIL OF SECRECY: In Sydney, Rebecca Wilson reported further revelations outlining details of the subterfuge surrounding the Essendon doping scandal "prove that the AFL should not have had the jurisdiction to prosecute" Hird or anyone else from the Essendon support staff. From the moment Essendon was informed it was the club involved, the AFL and the club "have hidden crucial details of the investigations and their findings." The secrecy "became second nature" -- six months of it -- and culminated in the involvement of Australian Sports Commission Chair John Wylie. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou "repeatedly refuted, denied and misled the media" throughout the Essendon saga. His last ditch attempt to keep the facts a secret prove that a professional sport must be subject to the same rules as everyone else -- "play out the facts in a courtroom and see if the same result ensues" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/4).
CLEARING THE AIR: In Sydney, Deborah Gough reported Demetriou has denied Hird is on a "paid holiday." Demetriou: "There's no deal... The deal is what was announced on the day (of the AFL Commission Meeting). There were ongoing negotiations… He’s not on full pay. It is suspension without pay." Demetriou admitted that "there were discussions" between Wylie and Essendon Chair Paul Little before the AFL Commission hearing into the supplements scandal, but "disputed details" in News Limited reports published overnight. Demetriou: "There are always negotiations before any hearing..." He admitted that AFL employees, including Gillon McLachlan, "had discussions with Essendon and Hird before the AFL Commission hearing, but insisted he had no knowledge of the substance of such meetings" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/4).
DELIVERING A WARNING: In Melbourne, Jon Pierik reported Demetriou "has delivered a sobering warning" to Essendon's players, declaring that they "could still be hit with infraction notices as a result of the club's controversial supplements program." Asked if there was any guarantee the players would escape sanction, with the investigation now into its 11th month, Demetriou said, ''There is absolutely no guarantee. We have been very clear and transparent in this that this is an ongoing matter for ASADA. They have said very clearly that they left the case open, that they plan at some point in time to talk with Stephen Dank and whoever else they plan to talk to, and on that basis the matter is still open'' (THE AGE, 12/5).