Well Tuesday morning I awoke from my slumbers to the news that I had not anticipated. WADA had lodged an appeal against the AFL Tribunal’s decision in the Essendon supplements saga. I had not considered that WADA would have much interest in a domestic sport where the team under investigation had not actually won anything, as opposed to the Lance Armstrong/Marion Jones cases.
This seems to be very much driven by ASADA’s Ben McDevitt as it is hard to see why WADA would instigate an appeal without a strong push from him. I must say his comments after the original decision was handed down smacked of sour grapes. In addition, if the case is as flimsy as was reported, it is hard to see why an international body would want to touch it. The big concern is still the very low standard of proof required.
Another confounding issue here is the innocence of the players. I don’t think any one thinks the players knowingly took a banned substance. I am sure the club didn’t sanction banned substances, so if banned substances were administered (and I understand there is no direct evidence that they were) why continue to pursue this matter?
There is no doubt the club should have taken more care to ensure that the records and the substances were all properly approved and documented, but the club has been dealt with by the AFL. What has come out this week was that there was a spreadsheet as to what the club believes was administered. This should put to one side the comments that the club didn’t even know what was administered to the players, because clearly they knew what they believed was administered and anything else would have been administered without their knowledge and consent.
It is quite ironic that revelations regarding the use of stem cell injections to aid recovery from injury came out in the same week that WADA decided to appeal. I resolve not to make any further comments on this sorry issue until CAS decide on the appeal.
Moving away from this blight on the local sporting landscape to the A-League grand final, it would have been interesting to see what sort of crowd they may have got if the game was to be played at the MCG. I have heard suggestions of 70,000 and that would not be out of the realms of possibility and would match the expected crowd for the Richmond -v- Collingwood game at the same venue. Either way you would think that the game would still attract a greater audience than the Western Bulldogs -v- Freemantle game at Etihad Stadium.
I am hoping for a Melbourne Victory win and while a lot of the focus has been on their strike power up forward, I think the key to this game will be the captain, Mark Milligan. Should the Victory win, I think he is every chance to be named the Joe Marston medalist.
Have a great weekend!