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).