The case goes to court on Monday. Should be fun.
There is some fascinating reading in the weekend papers:
ASADA documents show that when AFL investigator Abraham Haddad prepared a table projecting how many injections were administered at the club, he was disappointed the number was not higher. “Not really what we are looking for,’’ he told ASADA investiagtor John Nolan on July 15. “14 out of 58 persons at EFC remember injections being referred to as Amino Acids. If we add the Multi-vitamin aspect then it is a little more convincing.’’ The enhanced table was included in the interim report.
While some might call that ‘gilding the lily’, others might say ‘fabricating evidence’. With integrity like that AFL/ASADA investigators can get jobs as climate scientists.
Then there is this (emphasis added):
Andruska’s notes of a June 26 conversation with [now AFL CEO Gillon] McLachlan reveal his concerns that stripping Essendon of premiership points could lead to a High Court challenge. “We need all the detail to get through that. Problematic if not full report. Get outcome we need. Take bits out that might compromise what we need,’’ McLachlan told her.
Government agency tailors report to suit needs to private organisation?
How does this look?
With the AFL and ASADA agreeing Essendon had no doping case to answer for the use of the contentious peptide AOD 9604 — and only a weak and circum-stantial one for the alleged use of Thymosin Beta 4 — the AFL stressed its need for an interim report to focus on governance failings by the club. AFL integrity manager Brett Clothier told ASADA that the AFL needed evidence “assembled in a way that paints a picture’’ of an uncontrolled environment at Essendon.
Looks like a railroading.
It was a railroading.
At a meeting in Canberra on June 4, Lundy’s departmental deputy secretary Glenys Beauchamp delivered ASADA officials instructions from the minister. According to notes taken by Elen Perdikogiannis, ASADA’s general manager of anti-doping programs and legal services, Beauchamp told them: “Min — her colleagues at her, or accusing her of hampering chances of re-election — you need an outcome.’’
Andruska’s notes taken from the same meeting spell out what that outcome would be: “Deal with AFL — support staff sacked, points off, players off.’’ Essendon coaches would lose their jobs, Essendon would be stripped of premiership points and dumped from the finals series and the players would escape sanction.
This was the deal ratified by the AFL Commission three months later.
So what can we say? looks like government agency colluded with private organisation to fix results of investigation into suspected drug taking. In the meantime there is no actual evidence of drug taking. But we do now know that ASADA has contaminated any evidence they might have and wrote a report to emphasise governance problems when that isn’t their brief or within their powers.
As it turns out, some with ASADA clearly recognised the problem:
It also provoked an internal feud within ASADA, with senior investigator John Nolan bombarding his boss, former chief executive Aurora Andruska, with 175 emails questioning the organisation’s stance.
“Put simply, if ASADA wanted to maintain control of the joint interim investigation report, it should never have entered into a collaborative arrangement with the AFL,’’ wrote Nolan, a former Victoria Police and Office of Police Integrity investigator who has since left ASADA. “It would be a serious blow to the investigation (and ASADA’s reputation) if it came to blows with the AFL.’’
Nolan’s intervention provoked a sharp retort from ASADA anti-doping and legal services manager Elen Perdikogiannis, who told Andruksa: “This type of email is extremely unhelpful. ASADA and the AFL have reached a truce but we still have James Hird to contend with.’’
Yes, indeed. ‘James Hird to contend with.’ When you line up a patsy you’re got to ensure that they play ball. Turns out Hird is neither a patsy and refused to play ball. The Age picks up the story:
The submission also claims that Andruska recorded conversations with Clothier – it does not state if Clothier knew about these – with the integrity boss concerned about what the ‘‘Hird camp’’ had been alleging about the report and AFL charges. It was noted: ‘‘Even if Hird doesn’t accept, Hird to be isolated.’’
Indeed – he was. As recently as early this year Eddie McGuire was on Q&A arguing that Hird should restrain his wife from speaking out against the injustice of what we are now seeing unfold in court. What injustice you ask?
It was reported that the AFL had stated in respect of the player support staff, such as Hird, that the ‘AFL will go them’.
Hopefully the federal police (or some similar organisation) might be sufficiently interested to investigate this misuse of public funds and resources for private purposes.