A federal government administrative bungle appears to have delayed the anti-doping case against controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank.
According to a media report, the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP) could not sit as scheduled on Thursday to look at Dank’s case because it did not have enough members.
Four of the seven former panel members have departed.
It is understood that the panel cannot meet unless it has four members in total, even though only three of them are required to review any particular case.
The problem apparently arose when the panel vacancies were not filled in time, either by the appointment of former members or newcomers.
Dank issued a statement on Thursday night to Channel Nine’s The Footy Show.
“I’m extremely angry with today’s outcome – it just proves the amateurish display from day one,” he said.
“This will further accelerate my legal team and I in our legal action.”
Adding to the mystery surrounding the Fairfax story, government officials said they could not comment about the panel’s activities.
So there was no official line on whether there had been a delay in the Dank case.
A spokesperson for federal sports and health minister Peter Dutton also said there are now four panel members.
“ADRVP is an independent body whose role is to make findings on possible anti-doping rule violations,” the spokesperson said.
“The deliberations and timing of ADRVP meetings are confidential and outcomes are not publicly disclosed.
“The panel is constituted appropriately, has four members, and can consider matters when requested to by ASADA.
“The ADRVP can have between four and nine members. Only three members are required to hear a matter.”
The day before the AFL season started last month, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) sent Dank a letter alleging a series of anti-doping violations while he ran the supplements program at Essendon.
The next step in the complicated process is for the ADRVP to review the case.
ASADA also released a statement on Thursday, distancing itself from the ADRVP matter.
“The ADRVP operates independently of ASADA (and) it would be inappropriate for ASADA to comment on matters related to the ADRVP,” the anti-doping body said.
It is another development in the anti-doping saga that started in early February last year, when Essendon announced they would come under AFL and ASADA investigation over the club’s 2011-12 supplements program.
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