Sorry Saga - “It’s actually quite funny people thinking they know more than they actually do”


Bruce Francis unloads on Howman.


I still cant understand why the rest of the comp wasn’t or still hasnt been called to the TVSC and given the correct facts, the AFLPA are as weak as ■■■■.


Pielke has done a blog noting the inconsistency in approach to the athlete’s duty of care in the Jodagh and Sharapova cases:
It has also been noted that Jodagh will miss the pinnacle of her sport, the next Winter Olympics, whereas Sharapova’s suspension , while of much the same level, would not have the same impact on her chance to compete in Grand Slam events.


Fact Checking ASADA. Snippet #4

Philip Nelson

Aug 22, 2017 — This is the 4th in a series of video releases by the Justice for the 34 group which Fact Check statements made by ASADA whilst at Senate Estimates in March 2016. Justice for the 34 trust these videos will allow you to support our request for a Parliamentary inquiry into Sports Anti-Doping in Australia.

For nearly a year, Justice for the 34 has been calling for a Senate inquiry into sports anti-doping. Justice for the 34’s call for an inquiry emerged from the injustice of the Essendon supplements saga; but the issue has wider generality. There are international concerns with the evidentiary standards and consistency of the anti-doping framework. Both the US Congress and UK Parliament have initiated inquiries into anti-doping; yet despite having had one of the most significant anti-doping problems in world sport Australia has had no parliamentary inquiry. An inquiry is in the interest of future generations of athletes. An inquiry can lay the foundation for a transparent and accountable anti-doping regulatory framework.

Three recent events have shown why a parliamentary inquiry is needed.

First, in 2014 the AFL foreshadowed an internal review of the Essendon saga. More than two years later the review was tabled. The review was only eight pages long; no authors were cited, no sources given and no evidence presented. The AFL exonerated itself without referencing the sacrifice of the athletes who lost their right to protection against self-incrimination, their right of appeal and their right to a fair trial. The AFL protected its image while sacrificing the rights of others.

Secondly in March, a report by a retired Supreme Court judge into drug use by the West Coast Eagles was leaked to the media. The Gillard report was another internal AFL review; but in contrast to the Essendon review this one was 83-pages long; there were named sources and there was evidence of poor culture and governance; yet the AFL suppressed it for ten years and there were no governance penalties. The AFL chose to protect its image rather than to penalise wrongdoing. In two internal reviews ten years apart, the AFL has shown how they conduct anti-doping investigations. The AFL has protected its reputation at the expense of the rights and wrongs of athletes.

More recently, as the Herald Sun (April 4) has reported, the AFL has decided to sit down with ASADA to investigate establishing an independent sports tribunal to rule on anti-doping matters. The emphasis of this proposal is independence; independence from the AFL and from ASADA. Currently the AFL is the only one of Australia’s 94 sports with its own anti-doping body. The proposal highlights the abject failure of the Australian anti-doping regulatory framework. The two bodies that were responsible for the flawed investigation and prosecution of the Essendon case, the two bodies that subordinated athletes’ rights to protect their own reputations, are the bodies now proposing a separate independent agency. They are recognising their failure without taking responsibility for that failure.

The investigation of the 2012 Essendon supplements program by ASADA was one of the most significant anti-doping cases in world sport with more anomalies than any other case. It impacted on Australia’s leading sporting code for four years; there were breaches of confidentiality, breaches of athletes’ rights, breaches of regulatory standards, and serious questions as to the quasi-judicial process. ASADA did not appear to apply a consistent set of regulatory standards which would have allowed athletes to prove their innocence.

The ASADA Act of 2006 and the administration of that Act needs review not by ASADA or WADA, not jointly with the AFL and not by the Department of Health; the ASADA Act and its administration needs to be reviewed by the Parliament that enabled it. When the ASADA Act was passed, the Parliament could not have anticipated a problem such as the Essendon matter. The ASADA Act was designed for individual athletes competing internationally, not athletes competing in indigenous team sports. In the Essendon case, the players were penalised as a group, regardless of their level of participation in the supplements program; or the individual evidence against them. There is a need to examine the ASADA Act and its implications for team sports. There is also a need for the ASADA Act to be reviewed to consider the rights of the athletes of all 94 sporting codes. And there is a need to review the ASADA Act to examine the accountability of ASADA.

In no other country has anti-doping been discussed so often by so many. The case for a wide ranging and forward looking anti-doping inquiry is more compelling in Australia than in any other country. Justice for the 34 renews its call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Doping with wide terms of reference which allows all sporting bodies, all athletes and all interested parties to make representations.

It is in the national interest.

If you have already supported this petition, take some further positive action by sending an email to the decision makers. It takes just one click or you can create your own email - go here to take positive action:


Allan Hird: Essendon’s drugs saga lessons ignored in new sport integrity review
ALLAN HIRD, Herald Sun
August 25, 2017 10:00pm

SPORTS Minister Greg Hunt has slipped his review of the integrity arrangements in Australian Sport into the public arena without fanfare.

Once you see the terms of reference and who is on the panel you can understand why the Minister is gun shy.

Anyone who followed the Essendon saga from 2013 to 2016 knows ASADA and the AFL have question marks over their integrity. Remember the constant media leaks damaging to the players and support staff that were drip fed out from the AFL/ASADA joint investigation. Do the terms of reference address that? No, they do not.

During the federal court case brought against ASADA by Essendon in 2014, Aurora Andruska, ASADA’s CEO at the time, revealed that the AFL and the Gillard government improperly interfered in ASADA’s investigation. Surely this goes to the heart of the AFL’s and ASADA’s integrity.

But the Minister is apparently unconcerned. The terms of reference are entirely prospective. For the Minister, the past is ancient history. Surely there are lessons to be learned from the Essendon matter.

Does the Minister really believe the appeal process faced by 34 young men should be repeated?

Does he really believe ASADA acted with integrity?

Does he really believe the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to find the players guilty was sound? After all, two Australian judges and a barrister in a properly constituted panel found they had no case to answer.


Allan Hird criticises the review of integrity arrangements in Australian sport.
ASADA demonstrated a significant integrity problem throughout the Essendon matter for a number of years.

After the AFL Tribunal found the players had no case to answer ASADA had the option to appeal to another Australian tribunal. But when his case against the players was found to be baseless under Australian law, the CEO Ben McDevitt knew he was on a hiding to nothing. So, what did he do? He flew to Montreal to consult David Howman, the Director General of WADA.

Next, ASADA gave WADA $US100,000, access to all its case notes and its lawyers. As a consequence, and with ASADA connivance, the players were forced to appear before CAS by WADA.

Their future was determined by a foreign court applying foreign law. And remember these were 34 Australians playing sport in a purely domestic competition.

Former WADA Director General David Howman with former Sports Minister Kate Lundy in 2013.

You would think allowing appeals to CAS for domestic sports and at the very least without exhausting appeal rights within Australia would be something worth having a look at. But the terms of reference are completely silent on the role of CAS in Australian sport.

Appeals to the United Kingdom’s Privy Council were abolished by the Australia Act 1986. Surely if it is good enough for criminal and civil litigants to have their cases heard entirely within Australia, it is good enough for Australia’s athletes competing within Australia in Australian domestic competitions to be similarly treated.

The current issue facing the parliament and the government over dual citizenship illustrates perfectly the absurdity of Australian athletes being subject to CAS, a foreign court, when competing in domestic competitions.

We are quite rightly concerned about the citizenship status of our law makers because we want them to be loyal to Australia. Yet it’s OK to let a foreign court determine the future of Australian athletes competing in a domestic competition.

It’s OK for a foreign court to ban 34 Australians from working for a year after an Australian tribunal had cleared them of wrong doing.

Appeals to CAS, like appeals to the Privy Council, have to stop.

Not being satisfied with air brushing the Essendon matter out of history, the Minister has appointed David Howman, the former Director General of WADA to his panel.

David Howman was a direct player in the prosecution of the 34 Essendon footballers. The Minutes of the WADA Foundation Board Meeting of 13 May 2015 at page 31 reveal the players were pawns in a bigger game being played by WADA. In my view WADA took the Essendon players to CAS so that in future it could prosecute athletes under a very low burden of proof, as the following excerpt appears to show:

The initial decision had been questioning the ability to pursue non-analytical cases, and the level of proof required to win the cases and, at a time when the new Code was entering into force and putting a lot of emphasis on non-analytical cases, it was important to set the right precedent. (emphasis added).

Here we have the Essendon players caught up in what seems to be a sinister and cynical game played by WADA, and WADA was provided with our cash and our resources to play it.

Yet the Minister invites a member of WADA onto his panel.

Given the terms of reference it will be interesting to see if the Minister’s review of integrity arrangements in sport will be any more than a damp squib.

Allan Hird is a former Essendon player and father of Essendon great James Hird.

Care: Subscriber only


Just when I think I can start to move on from the saga, I read things like the J34, Allan Hird etc, makes me angry at the injustice of it all, all over again.

I realise my emotions are still just under the surface and it will be a long, long time before I am able to move on if I ever do.


I get frustrated when I see any miscarriage of justice. And there are so many. And I just can’t understand when people somehow think it’s ok.
I wonder did they grow up with no ethics whatsoever or are they blinded by money and power?


Could be either, but mainly have found it is out of self interest, nothing will ever beat self interest.

People who are not directly affected can usually see a miscarriage of justice, while the self interested carry on as per normal.


Well said. Thank you for saying it and for sharing. I was feeling the same thing reading Alan Hird’s letter, I could feel the jaws of anger taking hold again in my gut. I thought, not this again, I know this feeling. The one thing I know is, I have not reached a point of resolution within myself, yet.


it is apathy they have no desire to follow through on matters that they think are unrelated to them no matter how unjust they may be …apathy leads to all sorts of loss especially of freedom …the old why should you care if you aren’t doing anything wrong argument just doesn’t hold any validity …because none of the 34 did anything wrong & they were still found guilty & by association the coaches …so be apathetic about it move on & next time if it happens to them or someone connected to them, they need not be surprised if others show the same sort of apathy toward their plight.


In great news is he now back to being referred to as “Essendon Great” and not “disgraced former drug pushing injecting coach”.


In regard to questioning of CAS independence, I am still consumed with rage that Spigelman - who had been a judge in the Australian legal system - signed off on that CAS report which referred to Dank’s history of TB4 use at other clubs and to the AAT " expressly finding" such use in respect of Sandor Earl. First, he would have known that the AAT cannot make any such findings, it is limited by law to “possible”. Second he knew that that charges against Earl on TB4 were not proceeded with .
All those hot shot lawyers defending the CAS system choose to ignore the facts. They also choose to ignore the fact that there is no proper appeal system from CAS decisions. If there were, CAS arbitrators would be better disciplined and might not get away with misrepresenting the facts.
As things stand, they have the comfortable satisfaction of knowing that the current Swiss system is unlikely to ovterturn any of their decisions. Of course, none of this will be addressed in the Hunt inquiry.


CAS simply worked backwards: WADA needed to lower the burden of proof. Thus, the Essendon players had to be found guilty so in future WADA could charge and convict when it wanted. So, disregarding, the need to prove guilt, the panel cherry picked ‘evidence’ and ignored the facts, as you say, to deliver the result WADA demanded. And the players’ lawyers let this happen.


To be fair, I don’t think the players’ lawyers thought they would be walking into Kafka’s Trial, and it wouldn’t have made a speck of difference if they did.
The issue is not with the players’ lawyers.


As the CAS arbitrators stated in their report, they only included matters in their report that were considered necessary. There is vey little in the report reflecting claims and arguments of the players counsel, it almost entirely covers WADA claims and arguments. On the basis of the report alone, it is difficult to assess the performance of the players counsel.


That’s true so long as you accept it’s ok to play within the WADA/CAS rules. The lawyers could have, an in my opinion, should have called this corrupt system out.


They are partly responsible. Because their belief and practice of the Law within the Australian Legal System blinded them to what “might” and could happen and it did happen. Ben McDevitt outsmarted and outplayed them. They, the Australian Legal Team were totally unprepared to defend. WADA presented their case and CAS wrapped it all up before the player’s legal eagles attempted to present their case. They were defeated before they even began. It was all over and done and dusted.


There is no public record of the WADA Executive Board members contesting the introduction of CAS de novo hearings after the Essendon process had started. The AFL, which has no say in the shaping of WADA rules, automatically incorporated the de novo rules on a retrospective basis into its own Code. The AFLPA remained silent on that issue.
Absent the conferring of de novo rights , no decent system applying natural justice principles would have permitted WADA to introduce the Cox evidence to CAS, on the grounds that it should have been submitted at the AFL tribunal stage. WADA lawyers boasted that the Cox evidence was pivotal to WADA’s success.
The players lawyers did not succeed in their claims before the Swiss Federal Tribunal that the de novo rule should not have retrospective application.


Just on this, did the players (or anyone involved) get access to transcripts of the CAS hearing?
Bit surprised it hasn’t yet seen the light of day.


You continually trump half truths - The fact is the players advocates were advised by Grace and others who had extensive experience within the CAS system - Possibly the player’s advocates could have performed better, but as Big Allan points out we don’t have enough information within the CAS report to make such a judgement - It’s like a few said we should get Jacobs and Morgan failing to see they only take on cases where athletes have a positive AAF, and then willingly admit guilt and apologise for their actions - If it makes you feel good.