I’m just wondering how naive the AFL and the Essendon Football Club are? For the last few days there has been talk of a high-level deal between them and ASADA relating to AFLgate. This morning The Australian has published the detail of the original “deal” and the revised “deal”.
That is not a deal.
That is a regulatory agency explaining the terms and conditions of the investigation. Something like:
If you cooperate fully, and you have done nothing wrong, you will not be sanctioned.
Sounds just how the system is supposed to work.
It seems to me that there is a conflict of expectations here.
- The AFL and Essendon thought that they could “confess” to wrong-doing, hand over a whole lot of circumstantial evidence, and then have the authorities give it the once-over and exonerate them of any wrong-doing.
- ASADA thought that they were dealing with self-confessed dopers and this was a clean up operation where they would come, ensure the evidence was all appropriate, identify the dopers, and issue punishment.
It seems to me that the AFL has been running such a cosy in-house cartel for so long and is so used to everything being done on a nod and a wink that they think everyone else operates the same way.
Bureaucracies simply do not work that way. Law enforcement bureaucracies have convictions as their KPIs, have access to millions of taxpayer dollars to pursue their cases, and little or no actual oversight from a governance perspective. They certainly do not exist to provide comfort to private individuals that they, the individuals, have done nothing wrong. When you call in a bureaucracy – with star chamber powers – to investigate you for wrong-doing, they will find wrong-doing.