The World Anti-Doping Agency will appeal decision of the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal to clear ex-Essendon sports scientist Stephen Dank of 21 drug code breaches of the league.
In April, the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal announced it had found Stephen Dank guilty of 10 breaches of the code. The ex-Essendon sports scientist was however cleared on three charges relating to administering the banned substance Thymosin-Beta 4. Dank was found guilty of breaches which include trafficking, attempting to traffic and complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances, including Hexarelin, Humanofort, CJC-1295, GHRP6, and SARMs.
The 34-year-old Dank managed to escape on more than 20 charges, including all those pertaining to the alleged administering of banned drugs to AFL players. It was ruled by the AFL Tribunal that it was not “comfortably satisfied” that the ex-Essendon sports scientist had administered Thymosin beta 4 during the 2012 season to Essendon players.
Dank was found guilty by the tribunal on violating clause 11.7 of the AFL Code by attempting to trafficking in, by selling, giving, sending, delivering, transporting and/or distributing to a third party or parties, namely the Essendon Football Club and athletes of the club, prohibited substances in a product known as Humanofort, namely Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), Insulin Growth Factor 2 (IGF-2), Mechano Growth Factor (MGF), Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF), Follistatin and Thymosin Beta 4, between about January 2012 and September 2012. The Tribunal also noted that Dank violated clause 11.7 of the AFL Code by trafficking in, by selling, giving, transporting, sending, delivering and/or distributing, to a Carlton Football Club support person, one or more prohibited substances, namely Mechano Growth Factor, between about March 2012 and October 2012.
A few weeks ago, the anti-doping agency announced it will lodge an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against verdict of the AFL Tribunal in favor of the 34 past and present Essendon players. WADA has now disclosed that it will also take the matter of Stephen Dank before the CAS. In a statement, WADA director general, David Howman remarked WADA has decided to lodge its independent right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after a thorough examination of the evidence contained within the case file.
Howman added that WADA will refrain from commenting further on this matter, or indeed its recent appeal on the 34 current and former Essendon AFL players as with all pending legal cases, until any decisions have been made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The decision of WADA was welcomed by ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt. The chief executive of the Australian anti-doping body said ASADA will fully support the WADA initiated appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. McDevitt said no party has disputed that Stephen Dank played a central and critical role, the lead role in administering the injections. McDevitt also remarked that Stephen Dank has publicly stated that extensive records of the injection regime were kept but, throughout this investigation, no such records have been found and also commented that Stephen Dank was the alleged architect here.