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THE ESSENDON 34: ON TRIAL


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The AFL Tribunal hearing of the Essendon 34 begins on Monday and we've decided to put the long running Bombers scandal thread to rest for the time being and to start anew with this thread.

We found a timeline of the events on Talking Carlton which we reproduce here over the next few posts with information brought up to date via various media and Wikipedia:-

2000: James Hird suffers navicular stress fracture of the foot. Radical specialist treatment in the USA allowed him to return in 2000, career ending for most

2003, 2004: James Hird, Shane Woewodin and Luke Darcy receive dietary advice Shane Charters, Biochemist and eventually convicted drug importer.

2004: Charters charged with possessing 100,000 pseudo-ephedrine labelled Vitamin B.

October 2010: Stephen Dank begins working for the Suns, alongside Dean Robinson. Allegedly supplies substance (CJC1295 peptide growth hormone) to Nathan Bock, coming back from LTI, without club doctor approval. Robinson, who received the peptide from Dank, claims Dank had approval. Bock allegedly injects himself with CJC-1295 supplied by Robinson/Dank when at the Suns.

February, 2011: Dank kicked out of Gold Coast. Joins Cronulla Sharks.

Robinson joins EFC* for their pre-season.

27 March 2011: Hird coaches his first game as a coach, senior coach, after coaching Prahran Under 10s.

May, 2011: Dank leaves Cronulla Sharks having administered CJC-1295 and GHRP-6 there on at least two players.

August 2011: Hird makes inquiries about peptides at a conference and with WADA. AFL hears about this, and the AFL Integrity Officer, Clothier meets with Hird and Corcoran warning them against the use of peptides.

23 August, 2011: Hird inquires about Lactaway with his Performance Dietician and Recovery Coordinator, Benita Lalor. She comes back negatively about it, minimal benefits, may even add to muscle damage. Hird immediately forwards her email to Corcoran with: this is what we are dealing with. Corcoran replies: Time to move on!

23 August, 2011: Dank SMS to Robinson: Dont forget how important Thymosin is. This is going to be our vital cornerstone next year.

25 August, 2011: Robinson begins employment with EFC, after Mark Thompson pushed for him.

11 September, 2011: Carlton defeats Essendon by 62pts in an elimination final.

October 2011: Hird injects himself with Melatonin II via Dean Robinson who sources from Dank. No health check or warning of possible side effects. No record of injection. Hird suffered side effects (libido affected?).

4 October, 2011: Robinson suggests changing name of supplements given to players from peptides to amino acids.

4 November, 2011: Dank begins employment with EFC.

1 December, 2011: Dank SMS to Robinson Collingwood is on TA-65 and Im with Alavi. We are planning something much better.

Late 2011: Hird has a chance meeting with Charter in Gold Coast.

December, 2011: EFC at pre-season camp in Gold Coast where injections begin (according to Lovett-Murray). Hird, Dank, Charters allegedly meet at the Mirage, Surfers Paradise to plan program.

December, 2011: Dank arranges for private blood testing of players, referred by a doctor (not Dr. Reid) outside the club. Possible abuse of Medicare. Players blood was analysed for IGF1 (prohibited). Possible testing to avoid presence of substance at detectable levels.

2 December, 2011: Shane Charter returns to Melbourne with raw material for GHRP-6, CJC-1295, Thymosin Beta-4, and IGF1-LR3. That same month he orders from China, via email, on behalf of Dank: GHRP-2, GHRP-6, CJC-1295, Hexarelin, Thymosin Beta-4, and Mechano Growth Factor. These substances were delivered to Alavi (Como Compounding Pharmacy, in South Yarra).

145850-dank-robinson.jpg

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12 January, 2012: Charters documents recommended dosage/frequency for Thymosin Beta-4. They correspond exactly with player consent forms.
13 January, 2012: Reid aware of oral Tribulus and injected AOD-9604.
15 January, 2012 Hird emails staff saying the program must not harm players. Robinson develops protocol for Reid to approve new supplements.
-17 January, 2012: Dr Reid writes letter to Hird and Corcoran:
“Dear James/Paul
I have some fundamental problems being club doctor at present. This particularly applies to the administration of supplements. Although we have been giving supplements for approximately three months, despite repeated requests as to exactly what we are giving our players and the literature related to this, have at no time been given that until last Sunday [15 January 2012]. Last week the players were given subcutaneous injections, not by myself, and I had no idea that this was happening and also what drug was involved. It appears to me that in Sydney with Rugby League the clubs do not answer to the governing body (e.g. A.F.L.). It seems that their whole culture is based on trying to beat the system as are close to the edge as one can. It is my belief in A.F.L. that we should be winning flags by keeping a drug free culture. It is all very well to say this is not banned and that is not banned but for example, the injection that we have given our players subcutaneously, was a drug called AOD/9604, is an Oligomeric Peptide. This drug is derived from the growth hormone. This molecule has been constructed so it has removed what we call IGF1, which is part of the growth hormone that causes muscle and organ growth and bone length and photosynthesis. It is at the moment used for fat metabolism but also bone strength in children and may have some side effects that may be beneficial in bone growth. This to me just seem ludicrous at this stage where the only trials I have got are on how to lost weight and fat around the abdomen. If we are resorting to deliver this altered growth hormone molecule, I think we are playing at the edge and this will read extremely badly in the press for our club and for the benefits and also for side effects that are not known in the long term, I have trouble with all these drugs. I am still not sure whether AOD/9604 is approved by the drug authorities in Australia at this stage. Just because it is not classified as illegal, doesn’t mean that it can be used freely in the community, it cannot. The other interesting thing about AOD/9604, is that its market in America is in body builders. This also should raise a red flag if we are worried about perception. When it comes to Actovegin, this has been used around the world for many years. There is some flimsy evidence that it may help in speeding up the healing of tendons when they are damaged, though after speaking to radiologists, the recent opinion is that platelets and one’s own blood, probably does a better job. We are claiming that we should use it as a recovery agent. To me it seems ludicrous that a few mls of calf’s blood spun down, is going to give you a concentration of growth factors and other factors that would speed up recovery. I am very frustrated by this and now feel I am letting the club down by not automatically approving of these things. I need to collect my thoughts as these drugs have been given without my knowledge. I am sure Steve Danks believes that what we are doing is totally ethical and legal, however, one wonders whether if you take a long stance and look at this from a distance, whether you would want your children being injected with a derivative hormone that is not free to the community and whether calf’s blood, that has been used for many years and is still doubted by most doctors, is worth pursuing. Kind Regards, Dr. Bruce Reid, M.B.B.S., Senior Medical Officer”
18 January, 2012: EFC billed by Como $9,860 for 26 vials TB-4 and 7 vials Hexarelin.
30Janaury, 2012: Hird to Corcoran: “other clubs are a long way ahead of Reidy and us at the moment”…..“we need to organise a meeting with Danksy, Weapon, Reidy and you the day you get back…Reidy has put a stop to everything which is frustrating….need to use your United Nations skills”.
February, 2012: Dank checks with WADA the status of AOD-9604. The chemist Alavi sends Essendon another bill for $9400 worth of Hexarelin and a “peptide Thymosin”.
February, 2012: Reid approves use of AOD-9604, does not follow protocol established the previous month. After discussing with Dank, never saw supposed letter from ASADA that Dank says he had (although now he says he has no documents to give ASADA). Reid later says he only approved its use for players recovering from bone fractures or at risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.
8 February, 2012:: Dank announces to the players that they would be receiving injections of drug AOD9604 at a volume and frequency far greater than that of any other clinical trial. Obtains consent forms from 38 players for AOD-9604 and Thymosin Beta4. Also includes Colostrum and Tribulus the last three not approved by Reid. Hird nor anyone else at the club appeared to check on the potential safety effects in players before allowing this to proceed.
8 March, 2012: TA-65 (anti-ageing tablets, not registered or approved by TGA) administered to a player, not approved by Reid. Costs $1,450.
April, 2012: Dank SMS to Hird: “We’ve [Metabolic Pharmaceuticals CEO, Mr. Kenley] financials ready for you and David [David Evans] for AOD Project. These financials cover all possible revenue streams where project applies”.
April, 2012: Injecting of 34 players at Hypermed clinic begins. Substances include unspecified amino acid sourced from muscular dystrophy patient in Mexico; Cerebrolysin; SARM-22; AOD-9604.
21 April, 2012: Essendon beats Carlton by 30pts. They are clearly a different team that were played 8 months earlier. Carlton coach Ratten fuming that Essendon players were so much bigger. Hears rumour about Alavi. Alavi is a Carlton supporter who previously had approached Carlton to offer what he was preparing for EFC. CFC officials meet with Alavi and secretly record the meeting. Come away choosing not to engage him. Destroy tape?
May, 2012: Dean Wallis asked to maintain a database of injections taking place, by Corcoran. Doesn’t get it done until 27 June, 2012, and is poorly organised.

May, 2012: Suki Hobson, EFC Sports Scientist, alerts management including Hird to Dank storing Hexarelin on-site knowing it was against WADA code. Not followed up by Hird, Corcoran, Thompson.
May, 2012: Meeting with Dank, Hird, Corcoran, told by Thompson that the injecting of players is to cease. No one informs the players. Program ceases 5 August 2012.
7 June, 2012: South Yarra chiropractor Mal Hooper provides Dank with pages of information on Cerebrolysin and an anti-Parkinson's disease drug, apomorphine, from their Austrian manufacturer.
15 June, 2012: Dean Robinson emails Hird, Thompson, Corcoran, Dr Reid and other senior officials a document titled Supplements till GF 2012. Under Robinson's plan, players are to receive 16 supplements orally or via injections during the week and on game day. One of the drugs to be injected fortnightly two days before a game is the anti-dementia drug Cerebrolysin. EFC never seeks the rationale for this substance, which is being reviewed by WADA to determine whether it should be banned. The drug is not approved for use by Australian regulators.
August, 2012: EFC end supplements program, 10 month program. Cronulla program was 3 weeks, Gold Coast 2 months.
September, 2012: EFC receives a $61,000 bill from the HyperMED clinic (South Yarra Clinic) for hyperbaric and vacuumed treatments and 112 injections. This development prompts Reid to write a letter to Hamilton, Football Manager. Hamilton reads letter and discussed contents with CEO. Reid’s concerns not taken to Board. Letter goes missing.
4 September, 2012: Dank’s employment with EFC ceases.
September, 2012: Dank interviewed by ACC in relation to criminal gangs and importation, trafficking of banned drugs.
October, 2012: Club doctor (Brendan de Morton) writes to Robinson querying their idea to bill Medicare for 100 heart diagnostic checks (44 ECGs and 40 echos) costing $10,000 believing it would trigger a Medicare fraud investigation. Tests were carried out to possibly measure supplements efficacy program, and were carried out on-site by Cardiologist and Equine Heart Specialist Adam Gay who had “appropriate referrals”, ie. a GP referred him.
11 October, 2012: Corcoran moves on from HyperMed (Hooper) to Nima Alavi. Corcoran wrote: ''Thanks Dean … HyperMed is now done and dusted! I spoke with Nima and I reckon he can help down the track!!''
Two Sydney doctors, including Dr Khan, provide Dank with pathology referrals to have players’ blood tested. Clinicians associated with Dank’s rejuvenation clinic provide the results.
Dr Khan has been accused of injecting Sandor Earl with CJC-1295. Earl was suspended 12mths for doping and trafficking.
EFC also billed $15,000 by cosmetic surgeon Paul Spano whose clinic was across the road from Windy Hill. His clinic was also used to deliver intravenous supplements.

AHPRA is investigating up to 5 doctors associated with the program as well as a Medicare fraud investigation.
December, 2012: Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd submit patent application for AOD. Includes case notes of four EFC players without their consent to be research subjects. Dank had been involved in drafting human trial protocol for AOD-9604 for Metabolic.


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5 February, 2013: Essendon self-report to ASADA. Deputy CEO AFL Gillon McLachlan says players were possibly given banned drugs without consent. ASADA begins Project Cobia.

Ian Robson, CEO stands down from AFL working group on illicit drugs. Robinson summarily dismissed, frog marched out of EFC.

Essendon has held a media conference to announce that the club will be investigated by the AFL and Australian Sports Drug Agency after rumours swirled about the club's controversial fitness program last year.

Bombers president David Evans, chief executive Ian Robson and coach James Hird faced the media at AFL House to reveal they had approached the league and to confirm the club would be investigated over supplements given to its players.

Essendon president David Evans admitted that evidence had come to light in the past 48 hours that was 'slightly concerning'.

"We have moved quickly to call the AFL and ASADA to ensure a clean bill of health," Evans said.

"We believe we have acted in a sensible and proper way.

"This is a minefield ... we've received information that's concerned us."

A former Essendon official has confirmed to Fairfax Media in recent days that players were asked to sign waiver forms pertaining to treatment they received. Fairfax Media has known for at least a month some players had concerns about the forms.

Former fitness boss Stephen Dank has since left the club.

The AFL made tentative enquiries about the issue last month but the issue appeared to come to a head on Monday when Fairfax Media staff made enquiries with current and former Essendon staff.

It is understood the Bombers met with the AFL on Tuesday morning.

Bombers to be investigated over supplements

6 February, 2013: Interview with Kyle Reimers aired. He was told the program was right on the edge. Mark McVeigh replies on radio: Hes a disgruntled player who was delisted who rarely turned up to pre-season in any sort of formevery player knew what they were taking, if you didnt you were probably asleep at the meeting which Kyle probably waseverything I took I know was 100% within the WADA code. I was given Vitamin B and C.

7 February, 2013: Blackest Day in Australian Sport this quote comes from Richard Ings, former Head of ASADA, not government. ACC investigation revealed. ACC Report refers to one AFL club on p.17 of a huge report. ACC informed AFL.

11 February, 2013: Dank on 7.30 Report: Players were given vitamins B, C only, intravenously. No intravenous peptides. We had a well-documented program, with regime for dosages, what time of the day/week. All logged on detailed electronic register on clubs intranet. Coaches were in on it. Two of the supplements were a little bit outside of WADA Code.

12 April, 2013: Extensive interview with Stephen Dank by The Ages Nick McKenzie:

The circumstantial evidence about the use of Thymosin beta 4 is further corroborated. He repeatedly talks about giving the drug to players. Hours before publication of this story, EFC told Fairfax Media it would dispute reports thymosin beta 4 was used because player consent forms only referred to ''thymosin'' and it was possible a version of the drug not banned by WADA had been used. When contacted for further clarification by Fairfax Media prior to publication, Dank said he was mistaken in his original on-the-record interview and his references to thymosin beta 4 in fact related to a drug called Thymomodulin.

Heres the interview with Nick McKenzie:

NM: Thymosin Beta 4 why was that used in Essendon players given there is an opinion from a doctor or researcher and other scientists that its effects are uncertain? (note: The AFL believes it has a strong circumstantial case that TB-4 was used on players.)

SD: That's not totally true Nick because, with all due respect, right, there is good data very good data that supports Thymosin Beta 4 in the immune system.

NM: OK, why give it to all Essendon players if only some of them had colds and flu?

SD: Well, the point is that there is a degree of immunosuppression after a game or a hard training week, right. Often times the ability to back up next week is decreased by the hit on the immune system.

NM: Did you see any indications in Essendon players that it actually helped them?

SD: Well apart from the fact they won 11 out of their first 14, right, and we did regular bloods [blood tests] . . . at the end of the day I was very happy with the science, I was very happy after working a long time in football, right, that there are periods of malaise which are possibly related to sub-clinical flus and sub-clinical colds, right, which can affect performance.

NM: How often were Essendon players taking Thymosin Beta 4?

SD: [Explains the dosage level but asks that this be not published].

NM: ASADA has just released on its website that Thymosin Beta 4 is prohibited in all routes and out of competition.

SD: Well, that must have just only come in this year and I will get someone to speak to ASADA about that. That's just mind-blowing.

NM: Thymosin Beta 4, they must have just banned that.

SD: I think they've only just put that in to back up their case.

NM: On AOD-9604, let me ask you a specific question. It was not until this year, February, that researchers released the first positive data about its cartilage injury repair possibilities. But you were using it to treat injuries [at Essendon] before that. So how could you be sure?

SD: Well, first of all I had a very, very long discussion with the investor/founder of AOD, Professor Frank Ng (he was my Biochemistry tutor in 1992!), who was very excited about the possibility of AOD in injuries, coupled with the fact that we had seen definitive changes in bone density among the obese patients in the previous clinical trials. It comes back to things being used off label.

NM: Why are you sure supplements were not captured by WADA section S0 [which bans the use of supplements not approved for human therapeutic use]?

SD: Because they were compounded. (note: people can legally access and use drugs not approved for human therapeutic use, including AOD-9604, if they are sourced from a compounding chemist. In some cases, a prescription is needed.)

NM: Did James Hird know the names and properties of what his players were using?

SD: Yes.

NM: Did James Hird know he was taking [WADA-banned drug] Hexarelin or is it possible that he was just told that he was taking amino acids?

SD: He was told it was Hexarelin. It was discussed with him at length. He asked me if players could use it and I said no. Mind you, he wasn't the only coach who was a regular user of it.

[The AFL has alleged that James Hird was injected with "amino acids" by Dank. "Amino acids" is a generic term for proteins. The AFL has said Hird made no inquiries" about what the amino acids he was injected with were or whether the substance he was to be injected with were banned by WADA or the AFL.]

NM: Who else was using it?

SD: [Coaching staff] Simon Goodwin and James Byrne.

NM: Why were Hird, Goodwin and Byrne using Hexarelin in the first place?

SD: Because at the end of the day, they are in very, very stressful jobs, they are getting a little bit older in life, so like a good many thousands of other people around the country . . . they were using something to give them a little bit of a lift, to confront the stresses of their job, and something that they were well entitled to use. Whatever I think of James Hird as a bloke, and you can appreciate it is at an all-time low at the moment, in no circumstances did James Hird do or take anything he wasn't entitled to do.

NM: Wasn't that setting a bad example, that you were giving the coach of a footy club a peptide the rest of the footy club couldn't use?

SD: Not at all. In no way, shape or form does it set a bad example. How many coaches in their 40s in any country in any code of sport are using testosterone? So how is it a bad example?

NM: Everything you used at Essendon and Cronulla, did you get permission, when they were in the grey area, from ASADA or WADA to use them?

SD: Yes. (Note: Dank also explained he had witnesses who could corroborate his dealings with ASADA. ASADA has denied it gave Dank formal advice to use AOD-9604, TB-4 or other banned drugs).

NM: I have interviewed someone familiar with ASADA. They said that if you got assurances from ASADA, then that is a get-out-of-jail card, but you need to prove you got those assurances and one of the ways to prove it is if you got an ASADA receipt [which is usually given when a person makes an inquiry with ASADA and is given advice].

SD: You only get a receipt number when you ring up or online. I was straight inside the bowels of ASADA.

NM: Why don't you think some of the drugs you used breached section S2 of the WADA code [which bans certain drugs that stimulate the body's production of human growth hormones].

SD: Because there is no biological relationship either in terms of mode or structure [between the drugs used and the banned drugs] . . . The only similarity is the end point. And if you are going to question the end point, then you need to ban the squat [a gym exercise] and any other modality that stimulates growth hormone.

NM: Did Essendon football boss Danny Corcoran or [former] CEO Ian Robson know about your program and to what extent did they know the details? (Note: Hird and Corcoran have both been charged by the AFL with bringing the game into disrepute, while Robson resigned earlier this year).

SD: Of course they did. Danny certainly knew everything as he needed to. He promoted it. Each week he would check in with me, particularly in the early days. To be quite honest, we went to training for a week at the Gold Coast and I remember a discussion before we left that we were to make sure that the supplements went up there.

NM: Is it right that [convicted drug trafficker] Shane Charter stuck his head in during that training week at the gold coast? (Note: The AFL has alleged that Charter supplied peptides to Dank that were used on players. Dank denies this).

SD: He happened to be staying there exactly the same week we were staying there. He said hello to me because he saw some of the players and realised I was staying there. I think he went and said hello to James for about five minutes.

NM: Your critics say you think are the smartest guy in the room and you have a bit of a god complex.

SD: No. Quite the opposite.

13 April, 2013: Door stop interview with Hird When the truth comes out, I think you will find that I will be in a very good position.

22 April, 2013 WADA releases statement clarifying status of AOD-9604: It is still under pre-clinical and clinical development and has not been approved for therapeutic use by any government health authority in the world. Therefore, under the 2013 Prohibited Substances and Methods List the substances falls into the S.0 category.

6 May, 2013: EFC release the Switkowski Report: A disturbing picture of a pharmacologically experimental environment never adequately controlled or challenged or documented within the club". The attitude of some in the fitness team was that EFCs medical personnel were yesterdays men.the fitness team has a mandate for change, to push the legal limit with formulae which were assumed to be effective and safe, if mysterious. Dr Reids letter is sent by mail and gets sent to the wrong people:

"The rapid diversification into exotic supplements, sharp increase in frequency of injections, the shift to treatment offsite in alternative medicine clinics, emergence of unfamiliar suppliers, marginalisation of traditional medical staff etc, combine to create a disturbing picture of a pharmacologically experimental environment never adequately controlled or challenged."

6 May, 2013: David Howman (Director General WADA): Its (AOD) banned under S0 and you know, I just dont think the discussion needs to go any further than that.

25 June, 2013: Jobe Watson interviewed On the Couch. Says he believes he was injected with AOD.

26 July, 2013: AFL receives ASADAs interim report.

29 July, 2013: David Evans (runs a stockbroking firm, Bill Kelty and John Wylie on its Advisory Board) quits. Paul Little becomes EFC Chairman.

31 July, 2013: Seven interviews Dean Robinson. Robinson says Hird wanted a black ops supplements program. Mark McVeigh believes players improvements were due to hard work, not supplements. Cameron Ling believes players got too big, too quick.

1 August, 2013: ASADA gains new powers to compel witnesses (first used in 10/13)

1 August, 2013: Zaharakis manager confirms he wasnt part of the program because basically he doesnt like needles.

2 August, 2013: Interim ASADA Report given to AFL: As a result, ASADA will not be providing any further comment on the investigation. This ensures the investigations integrity as well as protecting the privacy and rights of any affected individuals. ASADA has a duty of care to be both thorough and accurate in every step of the process, Ms Andruska said.

13 August, 2013: EFC, Hird, Reid, Corcoran, Thompson charged. AFL had seized 4 servers, 1.5TB data, 4 laptops, examined 16M emails, 177,000 files, 6 mobiles with 98,000 SMSs, 6.8M line entries in their financial system, and 130 interviews of their own. 16 substances listed, one redacted. Each party was charged with engaging in conduct that is "unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the Australian Football League or to bring the game of football into disrepute, contrary to rule 1.6"

21 August, 2013: Hird initiates Supreme Court action to force the AFL to appoint an independent body to hear his case. This begins 6 days of negotiations between Hirds team and Wylie, the AFL conduit. Little also negotiates with Hird to agree to terms, inducement of an outstanding career opportunity, payment of MBA course in France (i.e. not known who will pay for it), two year contract extension.

22 August, 2013: AFL meet with the AFL Presidents and are urged to resolve the matter. 17 other clubs meet and, headed, by Peter Gordon, endorse the AFLs approach to resolve the sanctions.

27 August, 2013: AFL announce they are charging EFC* and James Hird. Hird suspended for a year effective 25/8, EFC kicked out of 2013 finals, fined $2M, EFC banned from first two rounds of 2014 draft, Corcoran suspended for 6 months, Thompson fined $30K.

AFL drop charges of bringing game into disrepute. Rather charges of governance issues instead. To the best of the AFL's knowledge and belief, Hird did not promote or encourage an unethical environment within the club; Hird has not brought the game into disrepute. AFL concerned about 2013 finals being legitimate.

August, 2013: only time ASADA talks publicly is for Australian article by Jacqueline Magnay, saying there will be infraction notices and life bans.

19 September, 2013: After contesting his charges, Dr Reid has charges dropped by AFL. Takes 4 month leave of absence. Demetriou infers this is punishment.

28 September, 2013: Anthony Daniher: The couple attended every parent information night held by the Bombers during the season. ''It was really sad, because every meeting we went to, we were told the truth,'' Daniher said. ''Which is fantastic, it was the truth, and when you are listening to people like Doc Reid talk of all the drugs they were using at the time, about 98 per cent were legal. The other 2 per cent, no one had a clue about, and no one even knew these drugs existed.

9 October, 2013: Two people arrested over a performance-enhancing drug ring. Operated out of an anti-ageing Clinic. Officers confiscated bags of synthetic steroids, human growth hormones and two pill presses from the Melbourne Sports Medicine and Anti-Aging Clinic.

The clinic is owned by Robin James Taylor, 43, a biochemist and former practice manager of Shane Charter's Doctor Ageless Clinic.

October, 2013:: Hird returns from now completing a $120,000 MBA course at France's prestigious Fontainebleau business school while serving his suspension on full pay. Hird later independently applied to attend the exclusive Fontainebleau business school in France, passing an entrance exam in Singapore.

6 October, 2013: Ahmed Saad fronted the anti-doping tribunal after pleading guilty. Recently married Saad, 24, took the energy drink "Before Battle" from supplements company Viking Protein, which contains WADA-banned stimulant Methylsynephrine. Given 2 year ban, backdated to August 20 for pleading guilty.

9 October, 2013: Dean Wallis sacked.

11 October, 2013: Thompson announced as interim coach. Robinson initiates Supreme Court action against EFC for breach of contract.

13 December, 2013: AFL find out Hird still being paid, insist he isnt, then agree that Hird is paid out the $1M salary in advance.

13 December, 2013: Outgoing WADA chief, John Fahey I expect there will be several charges by ASADA. Its only a matter of when. Where is WorkSafe Victoria in all of this? How can James Hird be at the helm of the club as the head coach when 4000-plus injections have been given to playing staff, none of which anybody can tell us what it was, most of which we know is not approved for human consumption, and put at risk these kids, and not have WorkSafe Victoria banging on their door that this is an unsafe workplace? Nothings been done there thats the sacred cow AFL is. Its disgraceful that WorkSafe havent been in there tipping it on its head.

20 December, 2013: Corcoran announces he wont return to his role in February.

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11 January, 2014: Alex Rodriguez (American baseballer) banned for season for taking peptides via an anti-ageing clinic. Other players involved, circumstantial case including sms exchanges.

5 February, 2014: ASADA defend timing of investigation saying misinformation and lack of cooperation have hindered their progress.

11 February, 2014: Nathan Lovett-Murray reveals his series of injections began at a Gold Coast pre-season training camp in late 2011. Was injected with unknown amino acids in lower back. Had signed form for AOD-9604 and Thymosin. Reid and Dank in room at the time, Reid saying the injections would be useless. Had 10 over two days.

2 March, 2014: Herald Sun release names of 14 players based on leaked ASADA interim report. Point finger at ASADA for shoddy privacy in publishing names. EFC* also blamed, let players down.

11 March, 2014: Jobe Watson quoted as saying the saga had left the players somewhat disillusioned with the sport.

12 March, 2014: Hird and family leave on a 4 month holiday to Singapore, France, and Russia.

13 March, 2014: on the eve of the 2014 season it is revealed (leaked) that ASADA provided Show Cause letter to Dank, relating to 34 potential non-presence anti-doping rule violations, some pertain to supply and administration to Essendon* staff. Substances include: Fibroblast Growth Factors, Human Growth Hormone, Hexarelin, SARMS and Thymosin Beta-4.

May 2014: The Victorian WorkCover Authority announces that it has launched a separate investigation into the matter

12 June 2014: ASADA issues show cause notices to 34 players on Essendon's 2012 player list. If found guilty, the players face infraction notices (sporting sanctions). These have, as a starting point, a two-year suspension, although players that demonstrate they were unwittingly given a prohibited substance may receive a 50 per cent reduction on their penalty

13 June 2014: Essendon chairman Paul Little announces that club executives have launched a Federal Court application "challenging the legality of the AFL/ASADA joint investigative process". Suspended coach James Hird immediately announces he is launching his own, simultaneous legal challenge as to legality of the ASADA investigation of the club

19 September 2014: Justice John Middleton rules that ASADA's investigation is lawful, allowing ASADA to trigger the start of the show-cause response period, which gives charged players 14 days to answer doping allegations against them. Essendon is required to pay ASADA's costs of around $1 million.

1 October 2014: Essendon elects not to appeal the Justice Middleton's ruling; but Hird, acting in an individual capacity, announced that he intends to appeal.

17 October 2014: ASADA issues fresh show cause notices to the thirty-four players. The players are given a two-week deadline to respond before ASADA presents its evidence to the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel, but elect not to respond.

31 October 2014: the deadline for Mark Thompson to pay the $30,000 fine he was issued following the interim report passed without Thompson having paid the fine. The AFL later extend the deadline to 20 November 2014.

10-11 November 2014: Hird returns to the Federal Court to appeal Justice Middleton's decision that the AFL-ASADA joint investigation was legal. The hearing concludes on 11 November, but the court's ruling will not be known for some time.

12 November 2014: Mark Thompson leaves the Essendon Football Club.

13 November 2014: following the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel concluding that sufficient evidence existed against the players, the thirty-four players are placed on the register of findings.

14 November 2014: the AFL issues infraction notices to the thirty-four players, alleging that they used prohibited peptide Thymosin bet-4. The players are provisionally suspended until their AFL Tribunal hearing..

15 December 2014: the AFL Tribunal hearing begins with sittings on an irregular basis right through to well past mid-February, 2015.

30 January, 2015 Full Court of the Federal Court dismisses Hird's appeal. Awards costs in favour of ASADA.

The 34 (Essendon) Players: Pursuant to s.37AF of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976, the Player Names Document is marked confidential and prohibited from publication until further order (this order is made to prevent prejudice to the proper administration of justice, the Court having directed of its own motion the list of names be provided to the Court on the basis that they will be prohibited from publication). (Source: Federal Court of Australia - Order - VID327/2014)

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January 2015=found guilty by tribunal

No appeals granted.

All players and staff given 2 years with no backdated allowances.

All 17 clubs are allowed to throw as much mud as possible at em.

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How any reasonable person, reading through all that, could believe that there should be no penalties is beyond me.

Sometimes in these discussions people talk about the Lance Armstrong case. The evidence to convict Armstrong was never as clear or comprehensive as this.

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11 January, 2014: Alex Rodriguez (American baseballer) banned for season for taking peptides via an anti-ageing clinic. Other players involved, circumstantial case including sms exchanges.

The Rodriguez case is significant because MLB is not a signatory to the WADA Code and yet the baseball authorities found guilt based on circumstantial evidence. Rodriguez was sanctioned without a positive test (as was Lance Armstrong). That part of the media throng pushing Essendon's innocence is essentially claiming that ASADA's circumstantial case against the 34 is doomed to failure because it doesn't have the evidence to sustain a case against them and that the refusal of Charter and Alavi to give evidence to the tribunal is somehow fatal to its prospects of success.

@3AWisfootball: It may even be possible the whole case collapses before Christmas" http://t.co/Cs35bfUCrQ

I wouldn't be too sure of that!

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Season 2015 will be ruined if some but not all teams play a depleted Essendon.

Will be the difference between sides finishing top 2, top 4 and top 8.

The premier will forever have an asterix next to its name due the compromised season.

You keep pushing that barrow but who gives a stuff. If found guilty it needs to happen.

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Season 2015 will be ruined if some but not all teams play a depleted Essendon.

Will be the difference between sides finishing top 2, top 4 and top 8.

The premier will forever have an asterix next to its name due the compromised season.

Bulltish. There will be nothing of the sort.

The 1993 premiership is the only premiership won when a club was convicted of salary cap cheating.

No other seasons are asterisked for salary cap cheating.

What about about the 1924 flag? Any asterisk there?

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Season 2015 will be ruined if some but not all teams play a depleted Essendon.

Will be the difference between sides finishing top 2, top 4 and top 8.

The premier will forever have an asterix next to its name due the compromised season.

You can point to other things that "compromise" outcomes.

What about the Tribunal going light on suspensions at the end of the year and basically making sure that top players do not get suspend for finals - that has been in vogue for the last 5-10 years.

What about a compromised draw ?

There will be no asterix - there will just a nice big flag and silverware and the word Premier after the clubs name.

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Season 2015 will be ruined if some but not all teams play a depleted Essendon.

Will be the difference between sides finishing top 2, top 4 and top 8.

The premier will forever have an asterix next to its name due the compromised season.

As a Melbourne supporter I will happily accept the premiership with or without an asterix.

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Without this crap, that coaching team and the playing team could have been very formidable, but they go and stuff it all up.

If Thompson was such an advocate of Robinson, why is Geelong not being investigated for the time he was there? You cannot tell me they were not on anything.

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Bulltish. There will be nothing of the sort.

The 1993 premiership is the only premiership won when a club was convicted of salary cap cheating.

No other seasons are asterisked for salary cap cheating.

What about about the 1924 flag? Any asterisk there?

I don't know what happened in 1924, but there is clearly an asterisk against that in your mind or you wouldn't mention it. There may not be an 'official' asterisk anywhere, but if the team that wins the cup in 2015 happens to get a top 2 position because it beat Essendon twice and the better team ending at 3 on the ladder did not, there will be an asterisk in many people's minds. Maybe not for 90 years as per 1924 to 2014.

No one has said that EFC should be let off the charges because of this, but Cards response to BBPs post and others have assumed he meant that. I doubt that he did. It is perfectly possible to point to the effects on the competition of a B grade EFC team and still want EFC clobbered. I doubt the AFL is dismissing this issue as lightly as some posters have.

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You keep pushing that barrow but who gives a stuff. If found guilty it needs to happen.

Fine.

Then rub them out the entire season.

Don't go half pregnant.

It's either suspend them for the entire season, or nothing at all.

Don't compromise the season.

Should the Dons players miss the first half the season, how is it fair that St Kilda get a 'free' 4 points in round 5, where as Melbourne have to play them at full strength in round 15.

Edited by Bring-Back-Powell
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A pedantic but possibly important question (possibly important because of the laws of defamation). Is it legally correct to say the 34 Essendon players are "on trial"?

If it is, by all means leave the thread title as it is. If it isn't, I think the title should be changed.

tri·al (trimacr.gifprime.gifschwa.gifl, trimacr.gifl)

n.
1. Law Examination of evidence and applicable law by a competent tribunal to determine the issue of specified chargesor claims.
2.
a. The act or process of testing, trying, or putting to the proof: a trial of one's faith.
b. An instance of such testing, especially as part of a series of tests or experiments: a clinical trial of a drug.
3. An effort or attempt: succeeded on the third trial.
4. A state of pain or anguish that tests patience, endurance, or belief: "the fiery trial through which we pass" (AbrahamLincoln).
5. A trying, troublesome, or annoying person or thing: The child was a trial to his parents.
6. A preliminary competition or test to determine qualifications, as in a sport.
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or used in a trial.
2. Attempted or advanced on a provisional or experimental basis: a trial separation.
3. Made or done in the course of a trial or test.
Adj. 1. on trial - in the process of being tested or tried
unproved, unproven - not proved; "unproved allegations"; "unproved assumptions"

Id be pretty certain they are indeed "on trial'

and Im even more certain as the thread was created by a Barrister !! :)

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tri·al (trimacr.gifprime.gifschwa.gifl, trimacr.gifl)

n.
1. Law Examination of evidence and applicable law by a competent tribunal to determine the issue of specified chargesor claims.
2.
a. The act or process of testing, trying, or putting to the proof: a trial of one's faith.
b. An instance of such testing, especially as part of a series of tests or experiments: a clinical trial of a drug.
3. An effort or attempt: succeeded on the third trial.
4. A state of pain or anguish that tests patience, endurance, or belief: "the fiery trial through which we pass" (AbrahamLincoln).
5. A trying, troublesome, or annoying person or thing: The child was a trial to his parents.
6. A preliminary competition or test to determine qualifications, as in a sport.
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or used in a trial.
2. Attempted or advanced on a provisional or experimental basis: a trial separation.
3. Made or done in the course of a trial or test.
Adj. 1. on trial - in the process of being tested or tried
unproved, unproven - not proved; "unproved allegations"; "unproved assumptions"

Id be pretty certain they are indeed "on trial'

and Im even more certain as the thread was created by a Barrister !! :)

Definition number 5 surely fits.

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Fine.

Then rub them out the entire season.

Don't go half pregnant.

It's either suspend them for the entire season, or nothing at all.

Don't compromise the season.

Should the Dons players miss the first half the season, how is it fair that St Kilda get a 'free' 4 points in round 5, where as Melbourne have to play them at full strength in round 15.

It isn't fair but the AFL competition is not fair it is full of contradictions.

They get six months and we play them with a full strength team so be it.

There are more important things to worry about IMO

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