Leaked ASADA Files Reveal Private Deal Between AFL, Government In Drug Investigation
The Australian Football League and Federal Government "cut a private deal in February" for the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to "explore all avenues" to spare Essendon players from suspension over the systemic use of supplements last season, according to Wilson, Hooper & Massoud of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The deal "is outlined in a document obtained exclusively by The Daily Telegraph." Its existence has outraged National Rugby League officials, who suspected the AFL "had received favourable treatment from ASADA and the Federal Sports Ministry shortly after the drugs-in-sport investigation was announced" on Feb. 7. When NRL CEO Dave Smith "initially learned of the deal he was fuming, raising it with ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard in March." Dated Feb. 20, the document "informs the players, some of whom are alleged to have had multiple injections of AOD-9604, about their chances of receiving a 'complete elimination of sanction' pursuant to the 'no fault' or 'negligence' defences." ASADA said Sunday that "it had never offered a zero sanction to any athlete or support person." ASADA's investigation into Essendon "is being finalised, with an outcome expected next month" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/22).