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Volume 6 No. 213


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).

La Liga Granada CF Club Secretary Pedro González Segura said that in the coming days, the club "will be clearing all remaining debts with the Spanish Treasury," according to Heath Chesters of INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL. The debts of around €4M ($5.2M) "were inherited by the current board of directors, when they assumed control of the club" in the summer of '09. The board of directors at Granada "reached an agreement with the Spanish Treasury to pay the sum over a period of years." This "will make the club one of the very few in Spain to have absolutely zero debts, either privately or publicly" (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 6/25).

Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua has new owners with "the purchase of the club by property developers Shanghai Greenland Group," according to Christopher Atkins of WILD EAST FOOTBALL. Details of the proposed arrangement "are still sparse, but it would bring an end to the Zhu Jun era at the Hongkou stadium, with the club becoming officially known as Shanghai Greenland Shenhua." Zhu had owned the club since '07, when "he began a merger with city rivals Shanghai United." However, there "is as yet no indication as to whether Zhu will retain his place on the club’s board." Given that we are currently mid-season in the '13 Chinese Super League campaign, there "will be no immediate changes to the club’s identity regarding the Shenhua name and kit design." However, it "is already being speculated that there may be changes for the 2014 season" (WILD EAST FOOTBALL, 6/25).