ASADAgate again

The drug that wiped out the ­Essendon 34 was only listed as banned by ASADA the day before the club “self-reported” its supplements program in February 2013.

It was several months after the injections had stopped.

Most of the 2012 Bombers’ squad were banned after the Court of Arbitration for Sport concluded they were repeatedly injected with the WADA “prohibited” substance Thymosin Beta-4.

But an official log reveals the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority “Check Your Substances” site — which athletes and coaches are encouraged to inspect prior to using supplements — did not flag the drug as banned until the afternoon of February 4, 2013.

(Source)

As I’ve been arguing all along – this is dodgy.

Here is a post from April 2016 that is well worth republishing.

~~+~~

Recall that Senator John Madigan asked the question:

Can ASADA please supply documentation that clearly shows Essendon players had clear and unambiguous access to the WADA banned substances list at the time the alleged offences took place that showed the substance Thymosin beta-4 was on the WADA banned list.

ASADA have answered the question:

The World Anti-Doping Code mandates that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publish an annual list of Prohibited Substances and Methods. This is known as the ‘Prohibited List’. The Prohibited List has been published by WADA since 2004.
The current Prohibited List is published on WADA’s website at www.wadaama.org/en/resources/science-medicine/prohibited-list. Archived versions of the Prohibited List for each year since 2004 are accessible via the same link.

In addition to internet publication, WADA also makes the Prohibited List available for mobile devices with free applications available for download. The Australian Sports
Anti-Doping Authority website also contains an information page about the Prohibited List with a link to the Prohibited List at www.asada.gov.au/substances/prohibited-substances-and-methods.

As I always say – when dealing with the government always check things yourself.

So I went to the WADA page …

WADA 1

… and I tried to download the latest Prohibited List file. Unfortunately the document would not download (I have the screen shot). Okay – so I’m not an athlete, so it doesn’t matter too much. I was able to download the 2015 Prohibited List, then I searched for Thymosin Beta 4.

wada 5

Okay – let’s give ASADA a chance here – after all maybe there is a variant spelling or something. So I searched for just Thymosin.

Well … I’m not going to labour the point. I have the screen shot if anyone really wants to see it.

Now that is a tad embarrassing for ASADA having replied to a direct question, ” that showed the substance Thymosin beta-4 was on the WADA banned list” with a complete non-answer. In fact, as best I can tell the “answer” provided by ASADA is entirely false. As a final check I entered “Thymosin Beta 4” into the ASADA search function and found a single reference – to a press conference. I have that screen shot too. There is more on the WADA website than ASADA.

Recall also that McDevitt told the Senate:

They should have gone to the website where you can look up the substances that are banned but we have no evidence that any of them did. They did not make the inquiries.

Well I have gone to the website – that ASADA nominated to contain the information and I could not find Thymosin Beta 4 on any list. Mind you given that the players had been told they were receiving Thymosin and not Thymosin Beta 4 it isn’t clear to me why they would search for it, but Thymosin isn’t there either.

Now I’m sure there is an innocent explanation for this but perhaps it would be helpful if ASADA could enlighten us as to what that explanation might be.

~~+~~

As it turns out, we now discover:

Thymosin Beta-4 was not explicitly listed as a banned substance by WADA until January 2018.

So what ASADA told the Senate was factually incorrect.

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29 Responses to ASADAgate again

  1. Goanna

    Some of these regulators are so jumped up, you have to ask what they’re using.

  2. pete m

    WADA list 2013:

    S2. PEPTIDE HORMONES, GROWTH FACTORS AND RELATED SUBSTANCES
    The following substances and their releasing factors are prohibited:

    1. Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents [e.g. erythropoietin (EPO), darbepoetin (dEPO), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilizers, methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta (CERA), peginesatide (Hematide)];

    2. Chorionic Gonadotrophin (CG) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in males;

    3. Corticotrophins;

    4. Growth Hormone (GH), Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs), Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), Mechano Growth Factors (MGFs), Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF), Vascular-Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) as well as any other growth factor affecting muscle, tendon or ligament protein synthesis/degradation, vascularisation, energy utilization, regenerative capacity or fibre type switching; and other substances with similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s).

    Wiki on Thymosin:

    Tissue regeneration[edit]
    Work with cell cultures and experiments with animals have shown that administration of thymosin β4 can promote migration of cells, formation of blood vessels, maturation of stem cells, survival of various cell types and lowering of the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These multiple properties have provided the impetus for a worldwide series of on-going clinical trials of potential effectiveness of thymosin β4 in promoting repair of wounds in skin, cornea and heart.[17]
    Such tissue-regenerating properties of thymosin β4 may ultimately contribute to repair of human heart muscle damaged by heart disease and heart attack. In mice, administration of thymosin β4 has been shown to stimulate formation of new heart muscle cells from otherwise inactive precursor cells present in the outer lining of adult hearts,[18] to induce migration of these cells into heart muscle[19] and recruit new blood vessels within the muscle.[20]

    It is a peptide, stimulates tissue regeneration and despite not being specifically named could fall under the “similar biological effect” ban.

    Seems a little wide but there ya go.

    If they stuck to minerals and vitamins there would not be a problem.

    I appreciate it sucks and feel for them.

  3. Mundi

    The real injustice was that the playing group were condemned by Hird/Dank texts. They admitted doping “there playing group” so everyone technically in the group at the time were banned, while those not technically in “the playing group” at the time were not banned.

    Some players never had there name mentioned once in a single document other than at the penalty clause. Think about the injustice against them.

  4. Sinclair Davidson

    Pete M – I didn’t quote the entire article but it includes this:

    Mr McDevitt’s response to the Senate on March 3, 2016, reads: “The substance Thymosin Beta-4 is prohibited under category S2 of the prohibited list. It is a growth factor affecting muscle, tendon and ligament, vascularisation and regenerative capacity. The substance is also prohibited under category S0 of the prohibited list as it has never been approved by any regulatory agency for human therapeutic use.”

    But ASADA has since stated no drug can be captured under two categories, with an email to Mr O’Dea on September 4 this year, saying: “A substance can only be placed within one category in the WADA prohibited list.

    In any event the question included, “at the time the alleged offences took place that showed the substance Thymosin beta-4 was on the WADA banned list”. It was not on the list – ASADA lied to the Parliament by omission.

  5. pete m

    Sinc, if it is caught by the catch all I bolded then it is “on the list”. Semantics but the banned list includes unnamed substances with same biological effect.

    The players did not check with club dr or any other expert on banned substances before going along with being injected. They were ignorant but as adults this is no excuse.

  6. Sinclair Davidson

    Time will resolve uncertainty. Right now I remain certain that ASADA lied to the Parliament and to the Australian people.

  7. C.L.

    Have any of the players sued?

  8. JC

    Sinc

    What exactly was the purpose of ASADA’s action. I don’t get it, if the drug wasn’t on the list why punish those players so harshly?

  9. tombell

    What exactly was the purpose of ASADA’s action. I don’t get it, if the drug wasn’t on the list why punish those players so harshly?

    Go to the “blackest day in Australian sport” courtesy of the AFL and the ALP on February 8, 2013. Watch the clowns Lundy and Clare in action. The NRL, not to be outdone, immediately employed Tony Whitlam (former judge) to set up an integrity unit. Big sponsors were “concerned”. The missing link is ASADA’s connection (if any) to any of the aforementioned (indirectly of course).

    I guess someone needed to be sacrificed?

  10. Gerry

    If the best you can do is say it was fine to use because someone said it’s not to be banned in two sections, then you are skating on very thin ice Sinclair. It’s absolutely clear that the TGA had not and still has not approved it for human use.

    The Essendon FC could read that as well as I can, but “whatever it takes” means whatever it takes.

  11. Rafe Champion

    The dodgiest thing was the role of the ALP and the ALP lawyer on the Cronulla board who told the players to roll over.

  12. Rtp

    Gerry, they never took Thymosin beta 4. Sinc is just pointing out that even if they had ASADA had no right to punish them for it.

  13. Petros

    The TGA has not approved coffee or whey protein either but you are still allowed to consume them.

  14. Mundi

    The players haven’t sued because….
    AFL has a bs tax structure that actually got everyone off with no financial penalty.
    AFL is a limited liability company, it claims to be non profit sports body. To achieve this it is required to not give its revenue to its own members. Instead it’s members are 18 individuals who do not technically represent the clubs legally. So afl gives money to the clubs as tax free donations, not to its members, who are originally just a bunch of 18 people. Yes the afls only members are 18 individuals.

    Now here is the trick, AFL players are contracted by clubs. The clubs are contracted by AFL to get the free hand out money.

    Hird was not banned from coaching, AFL banned any AFL team from using him as coach. There i’da big difference. Essendon had to continue to pay him.

    Thompson was not fined. It was essendon who were fined for thompson’s actions. Essendon paid the fine.

    Players were banned by ASADA from playing from getting money from AFL. Which is meaningless since they are not employed by AFL. All the players continued to receive their income from Essendon as per their contracts.

    Lastly there is nothing to sue for. The players were guilty and are grown adults.

  15. Tel

    Now here is the trick, AFL players are contracted by clubs. The clubs are contracted by AFL to get the free hand out money.

    Seems like we finally found a use for this thing.

    http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/antsasta1999402/s165.55.html

    Events that did happen, didn’t happen and events that never happened now do. Ergo, the existence of a contract implies that the money paid was not a donation. If those guys don’t get busted then I should get my wages paid as “tax free donations” for the same reason.

  16. DaveR

    Which ever way you explain the omission, it seems to me that all the banned Essendon employees now have an immediate legal case for compensation. And James Hird has an opportunity to re-open his case against the AFL and ASADA. To argue that at the time Thymosin Beta-4 was precisely captured under the “similar biological effect” wording, or any other catch-all, is plainly ridiculous.

  17. Suburban Boy

    In the litigation before the Federal Court of Australia did ASADA officials (or AFL officials, assuming they were also in the know) ever assert that the substance was on the banned list when administered? If so, they look to be exposed to charges of perjury or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Either way, the offence carries a hefty term in the slammer.

  18. Tony Tea

    I’m no Essendon fan, but it’s been plain to me from the off that the Dons, particularly Hird, have been flagrantly stitched up by the AFL and its cheerleaders in the media.

  19. Leigh Lowe

    JC

    #3185442, posted on October 15, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    Sinc

    What exactly was the purpose of ASADA’s action. I don’t get it, if the drug wasn’t on the list why punish those players so harshly?

    ASADA launched into the mire in the hope of gaining a big scalp.
    Once they jumped in they kept doubling down to avoid an embarrassing back-down.
    WADA was embarrassed by the Russians circumventing the testing regime at the Sochi winter Olympics and also wanted to re-assert authority.
    Setting a precedent involving the bullshit “strands of evidence” theory without positive drug tests was right up WADA’s alley, and it involved a backwater sport at the arse-end of the earth, so no pushback from the usual global vested interests in soccer, cycling, swimming or athletics.

  20. Leigh Lowe

    Tony Tea

    #3185543, posted on October 16, 2019 at 8:15 am

    I’m no Essendon fan, but it’s been plain to me from the off that the Dons, particularly Hird, have been flagrantly stitched up by the AFL and its cheerleaders in the media.

    Remember in 2013, when it was asked why they were being railroaded without positive drug tests?
    (Just over half of the players were tested, some multiple times, and no positive tests resulted).
    We were assured by the AFL meeja cheer-squad that frozen samples were being sent to the best lab in the world in Germany for continuous testing off into the future. “Sources” assured the journos that “they were confident that the offending substances would be detected by better testing techniques in the future”.
    Six years on …

  21. Old School Conservative

    The Herald-Sun article certainly doesn’t pull any punches:
    Scientist Bob O’Dea said: “The evidence of a stitch-up is compelling”.

    The players’ defence team did not know about the log when they were found guilty in January 2016.

    Questions have also been raised about the update’s timing, with suggestions it was an attempt by some staff to shore up evidence after the fact.

    Quite a compelling case for the Essendon players. I don’t know what they can do about it though.

  22. Robbo

    Do these revelations mean that Jobe Watson gets his Brownlow Medal back? If you want a good example of a player being treated badly then go no further than Watson.

  23. Megan

    The AFL is a bullying cartel that could teach the Mafia a thing or seventy hundred. The financial, physical and emotional fall out for everyone involved spread like ripples in every direction and hurt a lot more people than just the players. The only one who had the courage to stand up and fight for what he knew was right was Bruce Reid. The fact he beat the bastards says everything you need to know about this utterly disgraceful episode. And Chip Le Grand was onto it from the beginning as well. Heads should roll in every direction of the compass but I can bet they won’t as the arse covering going on today will be epic. And, for the record, I’m not an Essendon supporter.

  24. jupes

    Do these revelations mean that Jobe Watson gets his Brownlow Medal back? If you want a good example of a player being treated badly then go no further than Watson.

    Very good point. If so then they have to take the medals from Mitchell and Cotchin. Very messy indeed.
    Let’s also hope that some of the smug bastards at ASADA get their comeuppance.

    Be interesting to watch all the tap-dancing in the coming months.

  25. Biota

    The ASADA statement claimed it is irrelevant whether Thymosin Beta 4 appeared on the public “Check Your Substances” online search tool or not because it has always featured on the WADA list of prohibited substances and was included in WADA’s 2010 Prohibited List of substances.
    ASADA comment reported news.com.au
    https://www.news.com.au/sport/afl/new-twist-in-essendon-drugs-saga-after-bombshell-herald-sun-report/news-story/cea40f309f6b28cf43ae20b1d731d5e8

  26. pete m

    WADA 2010 list says:

    S2. PEPTIDE HORMONES, GROWTH FACTORS AND RELATED SUBSTANCES

    The following substances and their releasing factors are prohibited:

    1. Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents [e.g. erythropoietin (EPO), darbepoetin (dEPO), methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta (CERA), hematide]; 2. Chorionic Gonadotrophin (CG) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in males; 3. Insulins; 4. Corticotrophins;

    The Prohibited List 2010 19 September 2009 4
    5. Growth Hormone (GH), Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), Mechano Growth Factors (MGFs), Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF), Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs), Vascular-Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) as well as any other growth factor affecting muscle, tendon or ligament protein synthesis/degradation, vascularisation, energy utilization, regenerative capacity or fibre type switching; 6. Platelet-derived preparations (e.g. Platelet Rich Plasma, “blood spinning”) administered by intramuscular route. Other routes of administration require a declaration of Use in accordance with the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions.

    and other substances with similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s).

    I searched the document for thymosin and tb4 for nil results.

    WTF are they trying to say / do / hide?

    This is simply misleading.

  27. Tim Neilson

    Right now I remain certain that ASADA lied to the Parliament and to the Australian people.

    At the very least, ASADA’s answer to Senator Madigan’s question was not the answer of someone doing their best to make the truth clear.

  28. Squirrel

    So has our Bubble-hating government put the cleaners through ASADA, or have they circled the wagons….

  29. Siltstone

    ASADA lied to the Parliament and to the Australian people.

    Correction…ASADA blatantly lied to the Parliament and to the Australian people

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