Proposed ASADA, Essendon Deal Aborted After Protests From Lawyers
A proposed deal between Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and Australian Football League side Essendon "was aborted following protests" from lawyers acting for ASADA and National Rugby League side Cronulla, according to Roy Masters of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The proposed deal would allow Bombers players to "escape doping sanctions with zero penalty, while Cronulla players would be given a minimum six-month ban." The very same day that Australian Rugby League Commision CEO Dave Smith, "learnt of a proposed preferential deal to his main competitor," he raised it with PM Julia Gillard at a pre-arranged meeting in Sydney. While Smith is now confident any discriminatory deals are off the table, "the AFL can be expected to be frustrated that 45 players from one of its most prominent clubs may be suspended for the season." ASADA Senior Counsel John Marshall, "denied such a deal would be possible but the following day provided advice to Cronulla's legal team, led by Trish Kavanagh, that this was not the case." He "was so chagrined by the revelation of a possible zero sanction to Essendon," he told Cronulla counsel that "he was withdrawing from representing ASADA, for whom he had acted for 20 years." Lawyers acting for the Sharks "are furious because the settlement could have seen the players back on the field by September." Now, however, the players are acting individually with their own lawyers, "ruling out any prompt, joint resolution" (SMH, 3/28).
GOING TO COURT: THE AGE reported sports scientist Stephen Dank "is taking NRL club Cronulla to court over allegations Sharks players were injected with horse drugs." Dank has filed a statement of claim in the New South Wales Supreme Court claiming former Cronulla Chair Damian Irvine made defamatory statements about him "to the effect that he injected Sharks players with horse drugs" (THE AGE, 3/28). In Sydney, Stuart Honeysett wrote a photograph taken by Cronulla officials of a vial marked "For Equine Use Only" during Dank's time at the Sharks "could be used as part of the club's legal defence" after the sports scientist Wednesday initiated action for defamation. A player "questioned what equine meant after a substance was administered to him" in '11 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/28).