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Volume 6 No. 217


Australian Football League side Essendon was again forced to respond to a report which alleged that Essendon players were used as virtual human "guinea pigs" and received amounts of AOD 9604 which exceed the levels used in testing, according to Jay Clark of the HERALD SUN. The report alleged the "Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority is investigating whether the effects of the substance were measured against players who had not received it." Essendon said in a statement that "the club has no knowledge of any 'clinical trial.'" Former Essendon midfielder Mark McVeigh said that "the long wait to learn the truth about Essendon's supplement program was frustrating." McVeigh: "It's hard to wake up to read all this stuff at times and a lot of it, especially today, is new to me. I hadn't heard that before" (HERALD SUN, 6/30). In Sydney, Courtney Walsh reported the AFL has reiterated its refusal to provide an assessment of the ASADA investigation into Essendon despite further disturbing allegations emerging about players being treated as "guinea pigs" in a pharmaceutical experiment at Windy Hill (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/1).

BUILDING A CASE: Also in Sydney, Baker & McKenzie reported Essendon's "hopes of avoiding suspensions for players found to have taken banned substances rest on convincing the World Anti-Doping Agency that the club deliberately misled, and ultimately betrayed, its players." As the drugs in sport inquiry enters its fifth month, "the seemingly slow pace can be attributed largely to Essendon players being given every opportunity to build a no-fault or mitigating circumstances case that will meet WADA's high evidentiary requirements." Central to any no-fault or mitigating circumstances case will be allegations that players "were duped into taking substances they believed were approved by WADA and had been authorised by senior Essendon personnel, including the club's medical staff" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/1).

Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian Owner Vladimir Romanov on Saturday refused to apologize for "abandoning the crisis-hit club," according to Norman Silvester of the the Scotland DAILY RECORD. In his first public statement since the club was placed in administration, Romanov claimed "the crisis at Tynecastle was nothing to do with him." Romanov: "They have a new director. I’m far away from Edinburgh. What do I have in common with this?" Mystery "surrounds the whereabouts of Romanov," who is suspected of embezzling £12.5M ($19M) after the collapse of a bank he owns in his native Lithuania. Romanov was told in April by the Lithuanian Financial Crime Investigation Service that he "was to be investigated on the Ukio Bankas embezzlement allegation." He was due to meet prosecutors in Vilnius, Lithuania on May 2 "but failed to turn up." His lawyers said that "Romanov had suffered a stroke and was too ill to attend" (DAILY RECORD, 6/30).

Sauber F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg "is still waiting for his May salary," according to Uhl & Pohl of BILD. In addition, the Switzerland-based team "has not paid its suppliers in the past several weeks." The Sauber team "is one of the seven F1 teams that have financial difficulties." Sauber counts on Russian gas producer Gazprom "to invest millions in the team." Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said, "It is true, we currently have some difficulties. But we will get out of it again. We'll definitely finish the season" (BILD, 6/30).