A hearing for an emergency injunction to halt a lengthy investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) into the administration of dubious supplements has been sought by lawyers for Australian Rules club Essendon.
After this, a statement was issued by ASADA that said the extension granted by ASADA was a genuine attempt to seek a compromise to the undertakings sought by the Essendon Football Club and an effort to expedite matters and added ASADA believes the decision by Essendon to lodge an application for an urgent injunction is premature, given the further extension provided by ASADA.
On June 13, ASADA charged 34 current and former AFL players with drugs violations after an investigation lasting 16 months into the supplements program of Essendon. The players have until July 11 to respond to the charges. Essendon chairman Paul Little said they would fight the charges and would also challenge legality of the investigation that relies on witness statements and circumstantial evidence rather than positive drugs tests. Little added the club believed an agreement was in place to protect players but could not reveal details. When asked he was aware that former Essendon president David Evans told club officials that no damage would be caused to players, Little remarked there was a high level of confidence around the club that if we co-operated, that at a high level between Essendon, ASADA, and the AFL, there was an understanding.
In a statement on the firm's website, Maurice Blackburn principal Josh Bornstein said we have written three times to ASADA's lawyers seeking their co-operation to ensure this matter is dealt with quickly by the court and that pending a quick hearing, the investigation and show-cause process be halted. Bornstein added ASADA has failed on each occasion to agree to our request for an appropriate undertaking and said it is only fair that ASADA commit to take no further steps in its investigation until after the Federal Court has ruled on the legality of the investigation. Bornstein added the court will be prevented from effectively ruling on the legality of the investigation because events will have overtaken the legal process if ASADA proceeds.
This investigation emphasized on the use of peptides that can aid muscle growth and regeneration. The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned many peptides, including growth hormone and Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1).
A few weeks back, Herald Sun reported that an agreement was struck between the AFL and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority. A chain of emails revealed that ASADA will explain to the players that these are exceptional circumstances and a player can receive a complete elimination of sanction. However, an email from AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan to ASADA disclosed how the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency subsequently changed its position on the agreement. Recently, McLachlan insisted that no deal was made with ASADA and remarked we worked through with ASADA a framework that was put to the players about how the investigation was going to run, how the interviews were going to run and what sanctions were available under the code.