AFLgate is hotting up

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.

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55 Responses to AFLgate is hotting up

  1. Rafe

    The really interesting part of the story is the political driver, this could/should have been played to rouse every sportslover in the nation against the ALP – not just AFL and NRL supporters but everyone interested in sport.

    The blackest day in Australian sporting history? Who was the journalistic troll who fired that shot around the world.

    What happened to the allegations of match fixing and criminal involvement?

    And spare a thought for the NRL player Sandor Earl.

  2. Dismissive

    Does this leave Essendon and various of their officials/players opportunity for a civil suit?
    If they hadn’t lost the points, they may have made the finals and (OK pushing it) may have one the flag. Player payments lost, team prizes and funding lost etc.

    Sue ASADA, Lundy and all others involved. I’m sure they have lawyer members who would do a results deal.

  3. Mike of Marion

    I just hope Hird and others who have been ‘tainted’ have some very good lawyers who will not take NO for an answer.

    There should be a “no holds barred’ cleanout of all who set out to taint hird and the players. – No one should be spared.

  4. John Comnenus

    The blowback from the court case should be spectacular. Hird is going to walk away with a very tidy pay out.

  5. John Comnenus

    This is what happens when you take this petty bureaucratic fascists out of their comfort zone and put them in a real court in front of an actual judge.

  6. jupes

    “Min — her colleagues at her, or accusing her of hampering chances of re-election — you need an outcome.’’

    Wow.

    TLS’ government is up to their eyeballs in this sordid affair. Fat Andy stands condemned as the man who brought the AFL into more disrepute than a thousand Ben Cousins.

    What a contemptable turd.

  7. Gutho

    I wonder how this will affect “Fat Andy”‘s seat on the Crown Casino Board

  8. Tom

    Who was the journalistic troll who fired that shot around the world.

    Rafe, the troll doing the Lying Slapper’s bidding wasn’t a journalist, but a luvvee bureaucrat:

    Former Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority boss Richard Ings said Australians had been in denial about sports doping for too long.

    ”This is not a black day in Australian sport, this is the blackest day in Australian sport,” he said.

    The Australian media being an incurious tribe of zombie propagandists (apart from small pockets of heresy), Ings has never been called on what is clearly in hindsight hysterical, baseless gibberish.

  9. stackja

    Julia got Clare and Lundy to line up a distraction. Now these stories sound like another conspiracy.
    How many laws were broken? Why not call a royal commission?

  10. Mique

    Who was the journalistic troll who fired that shot around the world.

    One strong candidate is Peter FitzSimons of the SMH who was busier than usual in ramping up the hysteria and mocking anyone who tried to point out that it was clearly an ALP political stunt from the outset. His red bandanna has hampered the supply of oxygen to his brain.

  11. H B Bear

    Jeez it’s enough to put Fat Andy off his moussaka.

  12. Ivan Denisovich

    TLS’ government is up to their eyeballs in this sordid affair.

    Quite likely:

    What I did notice were some very bewildered sporting code executives with looks on their faces that said: “Why am I here and where is the evidence I can take back to my board to explain the enormous damage you have just done to our sport?”

    The dust has now settled and questions are being asked about the veracity of the allegations and the timing of this “event”…

    I don’t suggest for one minute that ACC’s revelation came as the Gillard government was reeling from Act IV of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption sellout play, “The Obeids”, and the emerging scandal of “Thredbo-gate” – how a couple of prominent Gillard government ministers took advantage of free skiing at one of our most expensive playgrounds.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/andrewbolt/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/is_this_all_there_is_to_australian_sports_blackest_day/

  13. Badjack

    What about The Insider Wilson from The Age and her brother in arms Patrick Smith from The Australian…are their cheeks red yet?

  14. H B Bear

    They are gonna get crucified. McLachlan looks like he might be in the cross-hairs too.

    The fall out for Gillard’s hopeless government is going to take a decade or so. And that is not including bringing the NBN back on to the Feds balance sheet in a few years time when the whole thing is declared uneconomic.

  15. banger

    The blackest day in Australian sport , just not for the reasons they stated.

  16. Jock

    I just want Maguire to eat a lot of crow and then resign. His disgusting part in this tawdry affair is evident.

  17. steve

    If they hadn’t lost the points, they may have made the finals and (OK pushing it) may have one the flag.

    Ah, don’t know if you were watching, but they did make the finals…….and were benned from participating. Carlton who finished 9th replaced them.

  18. steve

    Hey Rafiki, if you are out there. This quote is from the Australian and is part of the ASADA justification of its continuing assault.

    “Evidence which is unlawfully/improperly obtained does not thereby become non-evidence or material to which courts and tribunals should pay no regard.’’

    Some of my copper mates wish this was the case in the real world.

  19. Dismissive

    Steve

    I missed the whole thing coz I spent most of the Gillard years OS. So, sorry for not having a clue. I just assumed they were doing the midtable fail.

  20. steve

    His red bandanna has hampered the supply of oxygen to his brain.

    That’s not a bandana, it’s a pair of red underpants.

    Seriously, Gillon needs to follow the fat, hairy Greek out the door. His hands are just as dirty even if his mouth is not quite as big.

    If I were Essendon and I won my case in the federal court, I would want compensation for my loss of 2 million dollars, draft picks, banning of my coach of choice and exclusion from the finals from every one that had a part in this lynching. That means all the commission, the media gossip columnists, ASADA, several Labor politicians and 17 club presidents.

  21. Dismissive

    and incidentally, I wish I was still OS. This stuff highlights that Australia, at the moment, is better from a distance.

  22. Yohan

    One strong candidate is Peter FitzSimons of the SMH who was busier than usual in ramping up the hysteria and mocking anyone who tried to point out that it was clearly an ALP political stunt from the outset.

    Yes, day after day he was at it, reporting and opinion pieces so biased you would think he was writing about politics.

  23. Basically the AFL board and associated flunkies need to be sacked and escorted from the building.

    A new administrator in the mode of Kerry Packer (PBUH) needs to be appointed.

    Any previous executives of the AFL need to be paraded in stocks and have rotten fruit thrown at them.

  24. Dismissive

    Bring back Wayne Jackson

  25. Johno

    I recall Bolt calling BS on this following the press conference. At the time I thought he had lost the plot. Turns out his instincts were right.

    Is there anything that disgusting turd who use to be our PM has touched that hasn’t turned to shit?

    This one probably pushes her ahead of Krudd as worst PM ever.

    Where does Labor get this human sludge from?

    Is Wee Willie the next piece of crap they want to throw at us?

  26. This is appalling.

    The nation should be outraged.

  27. I recall Bolt calling BS on this following the press conference.

    Others of us immediately saw the whole mess as BS at the time, and are on the record saying so.

  28. rafiki

    Steve (at 7.23 ) – I am still about but not contributing much at present. The statement you cite is quite correct as a matter of law, but in its application much is left to how the trial judge. The parameters within which he or she decides to let in unlawfully obtained evidence allow much room for choice. You might refer your police friends to this source. It will give great comfort to them.
    http://www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/eManuals/UEM/index.htm#28738.htm

    There have been stuff-ups all round in this saga. We will have a clearer picture where it might go after Middleton J delivers his judgment. This might be some time after August 11.

  29. Rafe

    This was my first take on the episode, a stunt by the ALP to create a diversion, helpfully taken up by the journalist Jim Wilson.

    Other commentary at the time – early victims of the witch hunt,

  30. Cold-Hands

    Hopefully the federal police (or some similar organisation) might be sufficiently interested to investigate this misuse of public funds and resources for private purposes.

    Ha! The AFP couldn’t get interested in whoever stirred up a race riot. There’s no chance that they’d be interested in causing trouble for their fellow travellers.

  31. OB1

    Steve, just on your comments re the other 17 Presidents, I believe there has been a rumour floating for some time that Fremantle supported Essendon’s position at the infamous meeting in August. A few days later the AFL repaid that insubordination by awarding Geelong a home ground final against Freo effectively shutting out a lot of Freo supporters from attending & giving an advantage no other Vic club has been given in my memory of football. The great irony is that Freo still won but as you dig deeper it becomes more obvious that the AFL have continually corrupted the integrity of competition in order to try to control outcomes.

  32. I’m aghast the people could even say such things out loud, let alone in writing. Not at all surprised, though. These are sackable offences, just as a start.

    Will this open the eyes of the Labor supporters who follow AFL? Of course not.

  33. cuckoo

    Warwick Hadfield is Radio National’s sports commentators and one of the sanest people working in any electronic medium. On the morning after this first blew up, he described it on Breakfast as what it patently was – a ploy by the ALP to get Eddie Obeid off the front pages, as he then was day after day. Fran Kelly ripped Warwick a new one on the air, screeching that she had been told by no less a person than Kate Lundy that this wasn’t true. So there!

  34. Leigh Lowe

    From the report in the Australian …

    With the AFL and ASADA agreeing that Essendon had no doping case to answer for the use of the contentious peptide AOD-9604 – and only a weak and circumstantial one for the alleged use of Thymosin Beta 4 – the AFL stressed its need for an interim report to focus on governance failings at the club. AFL Integrity Manager Brett Clothier told ASADA that the AFL needed the evidence “assembled in a way that paints a picture” of an uncontrolled environment at Essendon.

    So, what do we have here?
    (1) The substance which got the most airplay (AOD-9604) turns out not to have been illegal in 2012. It has been subsequently declared illegal, not because of any performance enhancing properties, but merely because ASADA had invested so much in leaking information about its use and was embarrassed to later find that it wasn’t illegal.
    (2) What does ” a weak and circumstantial” case around Thymosin Beta 4 mean? It means that Essendon used a legal substance with a similar sounding name and ASADA is merely postulating that it might be something illegal.
    (3) Facing the fact that they had no evidence, they decide to go down the path of “governance”. That is, if you administer legal substances like Vitamins but don’t have the same control protocols as a hospital ICU department, you are gone.
    What a stitch up.

  35. Watching It Unfold

    The truth will come out (at the risk of perjury) – it would not surprise me that the AFL Commission (and its camp followers) are trying to cut a deal right at this very moment. The problems began when the AFL Commission patted its collective self on the back thinking that they ‘owned AFL football’ – pride cometh before a fall – if you doubt their arrogance, look at the Tippet affair, smoothly designed to prop up the Sydney market (everyone is forgiven) at the cost of struggling Victorian clubs, money comes before the game, as if they weren’t making enough already.

  36. Leigh Lowe

    OB1 … The most vocal AFL club presidents were the rusted on ALP flunkie David Koch from Port Adelaide, Eddie Maguire and Julia’s old mates from Footscray Footy Club.

  37. Tomo

    Both Nolan from ASADA and Paul J. the manager of the Crime Commission were the head investigators for the Victorian OPI and we know what a disaster that was

  38. steve

    The whole issue here for most Essendon supporters is that for eighteen months we have listened to the media and the AFL and ASADA trash our football team while both Essendon and Hird kept their mouths shut because they were told not to speak because of an ongoing investigation. What we all want is some sort of a forum where all the protagonists can put their side of the story, willingly or unwillingly.

    The whole thing has the smell of a fresh turd after a vindaloo dinner.

    I want to hear the fat hairy Greek under cross examination, Gillon McLachlan, Mike Fitzpatrick, Evans and Dank, Haddad and Clothier as well. Caroline Wilson, Damian Barrett and the fat guy on the Footy Show, Patrick Smith too on where they got their info and what caused them to be so pro AFL and so anti Essendon. And then there are the politicians and their crew plus Hird, Little, Thomson, Reid et all from the Essendon side.

    We will all feel happier when we have an explanation for what happened and if it turns out that Essendon did the wrong thing then so be it, but at least we will know.

  39. Leigh Lowe

    Steve, most AFL types are afflicted by a rare Quercus allergy.
    That is, they are allergic to the particular species of oak tree which is used to provide oak panelling for Supreme Court witness boxes.
    As someone pointed out earlier, they will be desparately trying to do a deal to avoid any cross examination under oath. Note that they caved in last year when Doc Reed said (literally) “Fuck you. See you in court”
    Sadly, Essendon will win this battle but, unless hey succeed in ridding the AFL of these arseholes, thre will be more Iain down the track.
    Fat Andy and his cronies are, above all else, vindictive.

  40. I wonder why so many Gillard sycophants jumped on this bandwagon to denigrate EFC and James Hird? People like Demetriou, Maguire, McGlachlan, Malthouse, Peter Gordon of S&G (her former employer), the Footscary FC, Carlton FC? They were ever so keen to support the AFL and ASADA. Why?
    Many of us smelled a rat from the beginning. The blackest day in Australian sport – with all the accomplices on stage looking rather sheepish. Lundy and Clare doing their best to exaggerate the seriousness and get Obeid off the front pages. Whatever happened to the match fixers, the drug barons, organised crime figures?
    Clearly Prime Minister Gillard sent them out with a mission. She probably also asked Demetriou to turn up.
    What a bloody farce? Even Neil Mitchell on 3AW suspected foul play but was unwilling to ask his mate Demetriou the hard questions.
    The court case starting tomorrow will be the beginning of the end for some of the conspirators which include the AFL Commission and ASADA officials. The disgraceful act by the AFL of handing out punishment, on someone else’s say so, without a trial, especially removing the Bombers from the finals, should teach them all a lesson. IMHO EFC and James Hird should sue the lot of them for millions of dollars. We may subsequently find ourselves with an AFL Commission that has honesty and integrity which it has surely lacked in recent years.

  41. Mark from Melbourne

    Steve, just on your comments re the other 17 Presidents, I believe there has been a rumour floating for some time that Fremantle supported Essendon’s position at the infamous meeting in August. A few days later the AFL repaid that insubordination by awarding Geelong a home ground final against Freo effectively shutting out a lot of Freo supporters from attending & giving an advantage no other Vic club has been given in my memory of football

    OB1, whatever might have been the rumour, that is not correct. Given the fixturing issues, and the fact that it had been floated as a possibility, the AFL rang Geelong and asked them to calculate the return based on a set of ticket prices. They were absolutely astounded at the resulting number (which was a multiple of what they could have made at Etihad) and then realised that all they had to do to get their hands on said bucket of money was rip Geelong off by a home game this year to compensate Etihad… which they duly did. Greed rules.

  42. David

    Steve many years ago it was not a matter of evidence not being admissible if it was unlawfully obtained but whether the importance/relevance of the evidence outweighed the “unlawful” act. The case cited was usually Kuruma -v- The Queen. I’d have to look up its identifying reference.

    The guts of it was that, during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, it was unlawful to have ammunition in your possession and the penalty was the long drop. Kuruma was upended at a roadblock by the local police and found to have .303 ammunition in his pockets. After his conviction in Kenya the appeal to the Privy Council was on the grounds that the finding of the ammunition was not admissible because Kuruma was assaulted to find it.

    He lost, he hung.

    There have been many other judgements since and I am not up with the current state of play in this area.

  43. David

    Steve if you are really interested the Privy Council reference is
    Case number: 1954_43
    Year of Judgment 1954
    Kuruma Son of Kaniu; The Queen
    Location British East Africa – Other
    Supplementary Info
    Appeal No. 35 of 1954

  44. Harry Buttle

    Given the likelihood of a finding that ASADA (amongst others) have been corrupt in this “blackest day” investigation, you have to wonder if it will impact on the NRL side of the investigation as well.

  45. rafiki

    David – have a look at the reference I gave above. Again, it’s
    http://www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/eManuals/UEM/index.htm#28738.htm
    Section 138 if the Evidence Acts restates the common law.

  46. steve

    Thanks for the legal references guys. My layman’s memory goes back to OJ Simpson who was not convicted of criminal charges because the collection of evidence was contaminated, so they had to get him on civil charges.

    The reason I mentioned the quote from the paper, that ASADA are pitching the “it doesn’t matter how it was collected” line to the judge is that to my mind unless everything is hunky dory in the way a person is brought to trial, there has to be a doubt about convicting anyone. However, as Rafiki keeps telling me the justice system is not about justice, its about money. Sorry to verbal you Rafiki, but that is what I got from our conversations.

  47. David

    Thanks for jogging the memory rafiki.

    It is a long time since I had need of reference to the Evidence Act.

    Steve the US situation varies from ours in many ways. I once, many years ago, had a long and interesting discussion with a US attorney in a Chicago bar [liquor serving type not courtroom table type] about the differences.

  48. Jack

    Thing with Gillard is that no matter how low she goes, she always manages to surprise you by going lower.

  49. Just A View

    The AFL are outstanding at managing the media. They’ve been taking lessons from the other monopoly sporting groups – Olympics etc.

    So the media management issues are being worked on right now. Their biggest problem is being nasty to Chip Le Grand several months. He has nothing to lose unlike all the other journos.

    I’m looking forward to Patrick Smith eating humble pie. I know this is off topic but I wish he wouldn’t write about rugby union – he knows next to nothing about it and it shows.

    Also when is someone going to challenge the AFL draft as a restraint of trade and get its monopoly shut down? The ACCC needs to look into this but I’m not holding my breath.

  50. Leigh Lowe

    You’re right about the media control Just.
    I didn’t follow all footy shows on TV or radio this weekend but what I did see was interesting. Barely a mention of next week’s court case. Clearly the “AFL Approved” outlets have been given the word …. STFU.
    Interesting that you raise restraint of trade in relation to the draft. The AFL/VFL’s first bloodied nose in the legal system came in 1983 when Silvio Foschini successfully challenged the VFL clearance rules to move from Sydney to St Kilda.
    The second time the VFL wrongly thought they were above the law was in 1985 when they smugly refused to act after Leigh Mathews king-hit Neville Bruns, culminating in Mathews being charged and convicted of Assault causing GBH.
    I think this week will be the third legal smack to the arrogance of the AFL and a timely reminder that they are not above the law.

  51. steve

    It’s funny that you say Patrick Smith knows nothing about rugby union, we followers of aussie rules don’t think he knows anything about our sport either. I’ll tell you what he does know though, and that is that there is no opinion more important than his on any topic that you might like to name.
    If his ego were carbon dioxide, we would be living in a sauna.

  52. Leigh Lowe

    Patrick Smith is a dick and unqualified to comment on any subject.
    His constant sniping at Lleyton Hewett really shits me.
    I’m not a huge fan of Hewett but I admire and respect his determination and hard work.
    Smith isn’t fit to tie his shoelace … the greatest insult I can offer Smith is that he would fit in perfectly at Fairfax.

  53. mdso

    We Australians are either a naïve lot, too trusting or just easily fooled. The saying, Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely proves life and finding the truth is stranger than fiction. What has happened with Essendon, its staff and the players over the AFL, ACC and ASADA investigation has become a scandal. But; without Doctor Reid’s outrage and defiance and James and Tania Hird’s resilience, belief and determination and those who believed in their cause, this court case would never have seen the light of day. Like many scandals this one would have been just another cover up, buried and forgotten.

    I am not saying Essendon’s governance did not need changing but it cannot deny now the AFL and ASADA also had the same problems. In fact, the AFL obviously did not have adequate rules and regulations in place about supplement programs. What about the 11 other AFL clubs who also had suspect supplement programs, Melbourne’s non tanking, Tippet’s transfer, Matt Randall’s spectacular sacking and Judd’s transfer to Carlton. A number of border line, suspect deals and decisions.

    The Justice System is not about Justice or being Just, it is about the Law, rules and processes, it is also about influential connections, power, greed and money. Ensure you have the very best silk you can afford and a slick communicator because the law is black and white and lacks fluidity where life and business have many grey areas. Innocence or guilt are easily exchanged in the process.

  54. JohnA

    steve #1410941, posted on August 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    What we all want is some sort of a forum where all the protagonists can put their side of the story, willingly or unwillingly.

    I suggest a locked room with a copious supply of knuckle sandwiches. Then when the noise ceases, unlock the door and see who walks out. I would bet on EFL representatives being able to do so.

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