Australian Football League Set To Reject James Hird's Call For Independent Review
The Australian Football League "seems certain" to call Essendon coach James Hird's bluff "on his demand for an independent panel to hear charges against Essendon, and only after the Grand Final," according to Jon Ralph of the HERALD SUN. Hird's lawyers "set the Monday deadline when issuing a provocative challenge to the league's authority to have the AFL Commission hear the charges." AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou is adamant the AFL Commission is the forum for the Essendon charges to be heard, and says that "he will not stand down from the independent body." The league "refused to comment on Sunday, but it is believed the AFL is not prepared to accede to Hird's demands and still wants the issue resolved before the finals" (HERALD SUN, 8/18). In Sydney, Chip Le Grand reported the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's six-month investigation into the alleged systematic use of peptides at AFL club Essendon and Cronulla in the National Rugby League "is at risk of collapse" if lawyers acting for Hird "succeed in challenging the legality of ASADA's decision to involve the major football codes in its search for evidence of doping." Hird's legal team "foreshadowed the legal challenge, which will be launched once the bitter dispute between the AFL and ASADA inevitably finds its way into the Victorian Supreme Court." Former ASADA Legal Head and Dir Responsible for Intelligence-Gathering, Testing & Investigations Catherine Ordway said that "the joint investigation was a departure from normal practice" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/17).
MORE SMOKE: In Melbourne, Grant Baker reported an AFL charging document revealed that Essendon players "were to receive 1,500 injections of AOD-9604 and Thymosin." The document "also states more than 16,500 doses of Colostrum and 8,000 doses of Tribulus were planned." The charge sheet also said that "the club allowed the administering of prohibited drugs or alternatively is unable to determine whether players were administered substances prohibited by the AFL anti-doping code and World Anti-Doping Agency code" (HERALD SUN, 8/15).