So Essendon players were injected with substances, but it appears no-one knows what was injected due to a ‘deplorable absence of records in the program relating to its administration’ (the AFL’s Anti-Doping Tribunal’s words not mine). Hardly a satisfactory conclusion to the matter but without the ability to compel witnesses to give evidence, there was always a high probability that this would be the outcome. Proof of the offence was ASADA’s Achilles’ heel.
Sportzfan Radio commentator, John O’Callaghan said after the announcement by ASADA at the outset of the supplement scandal, that no AFL player would be suspended. He was proved to be correct. He also called for drug offences in sport to be the subject of criminal proceedings so that investigations could be undertaken by the Police and proceedings be brought before the Courts. It appears in retrospect that his comments were prescient.
Timing is everything…….and I’ll bet that the AFL is also stunned at the exquisite timing of the ASADA announcement that two Collingwood FC player’s ‘A’ samples have tested positive to the drug Clenbuterol on the day before the AFL anti-doping Tribunal’s was to announce its verdict regarding the case involving Essendon FC players.
Clenbuterol is a ‘beta-2 agonist’ that can be used alone and in conjunction with other substances to promote growth of skeletal muscle and to reduce body fat. It is not approved for human use and is a banned class of drug under the World Anti-Doping Code. Athletes commonly use the drug to define muscle. Its best known user is Spanish cyclist, Alberto Contador, who was stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title after testing positive to the drug.
With the ‘B’ samples yet to be tested, it is too early to pass judgment, however, the announcement by ASADA has certainly focussed even more attention on the drug cheats issue at a time when the AFL would like the subject to fall out of the headlines, especially with the opening game of the season less than 48 hours away.