Essendon chairman Paul Little has hit out at John Fahey, the President of World Anti-Doping Agency, for making ''unfounded and unsettling allegations'' that doping charges against the club were imminent. The Essendon boss expressed confidence that players of the club haven't consumed any illegal, performance-enhancing, or harmful substances.
Little, while speaking at the annual meeting of Essendon, said the club was looking forward to welcoming back James Hird who was suspended. He added the Bombers would be paying $750,000 base salary for 2014 upfront by the end of this year as a result of negotiations with the Australian Football League. The Essendon chairman added the club was all set to appoint a new chief executive and implement a new executive structure, which would include a chief operating officer, a general manager of human resources, and a compliance manager. He went on to add that Essendon plans to listen more to its members after the extraordinary challenges faced during 2013. Little reiterated that neither the AFL nor the Bombers had received any indication infraction notices were pending.
Little blasted outgoing WADA president who recently said it was only a matter of when charges were laid but then claimed that he did not want to know any detail of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's ongoing investigation. Little told club members that both the AFL and the Australian Anti-Doping Agency have reconfirmed in the past fortnight that they have no knowledge of any pending issuance of infraction notices to the Essendon Football Club. He added perhaps it is time for him to either provide some real evidence or desist from making these unfounded and unsettling allegations. The Essendon chief however admitted that many practices and procedures in place at Essendon were inappropriate, and exposed our players to unacceptable risks.
The Essendon boss also remarked that the Bombers had significantly reworked the medical protocols of the club and its corporate governance structures and people management procedures. He also said we all agree that the club is bigger and more important than any one individual. In order to prosper within an environment of intense and often critical scrutiny, everyone, without exception, must present a cohesive message of a strong, capable, and well-managed football club. Little added our young and talented playing group deserve and require this level of professionalism, so that they are able to focus solely on playing their best football for this great club and his involvement thus far and throughout 2014 will be to remain very hands-on, in order to ensure a level of rigor and discipline throughout the organization.
In another development, the NRL has hit Cronulla Sharks with a $1 million fine, $400,000 suspended, and stood down Coach Shane Flanagan for 12 months over role of the club in the supplement scandal.NRL chief executive Dave Smith delivered the sanctions and remarked we will not accept practices that put our players at risk. He added that clubs are obligated to ensure proper processes are in place to protect our players and we will hold clubs and individuals to account if there is a failure to do so.