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Bombers to learn fate in January

Football

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it will deliver in mid-January its verdict on the Essendon doping case that has rocked Australian sport.

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CAS arbitrated a hearing in Sydney from November 16-20, and said overnight it will notify all parties of its decision from January 11.

The case involves 34 current and former Essendon players, who took a banned peptide in 2012 at the suggestion of a sports scientist.

The Australian Football League decided in March there was no anti-doping violation, but the World Anti-Doping Agency appealed to CAS, seeking a violation and sanction.

The Club could also be fined $610,700 after admitting yesterday it failed to provide players with a safe workplace during the ill-fated 2012 supplements regime.

WorkSafe Victoria told the Melbourne Magistrates Court that Essendon, at the end of 2011 and in 2012, gave players supplements without taking necessary steps to reduce potential health risks.

The club said two key figures in the ill-fated supplements program ignored clear protocols and sidestepped medical staff in their bid to give the team a competitive edge.

After the club finished 8th in the 2011 season, two key figures came on board to implement the new regime – fitness boss Dean Robinson, who brought well-known sports scientist Stephen Dank with him.

They began a supplements program, injecting players with vitamins, amino acids and peptides, the court was told.

Senior players and club doctor Bruce Reid raised concerns over this in January 2012, so Mr Robinson wrote a policy giving Dr Reid the power to approve or deny the use of any substances administered to players.

Under the policy, Robinson and Dank were to provide Dr Reid with the scientific and common name of substances, clinical findings about side effects or documents guaranteeing they did not breach ASADA or WADA guidelines.

They gave him “mountains of paperwork” but it contained only information on some of the substances.

Other substances were given off-site without Dr Reid’s approval.

Prosecutor Ross Ray, QC, said poor record keeping meant it was almost impossible to know what each player was given, but it is believed they had some form of Thymosin and Tribulus Forte.

“Dank and Robinson administered these substances to players without approval from the medical team,” Ray told the court.

Players were ordered not to talk about the program.

Barrister Gary Livermore, acting on behalf of Essendon, conceded Dank and Robinson didn’t get approval from Reid for at least two of the supplements.

Ray said the club should be fined $305,350 for each of the two charges they face – the maximum monetary penalty available to the Magistrate.

Essendon will be sentenced on January 28.

This means all ongoing wrangles pertaining to the supplements scandal should be tied up, one way or another, before the start of pre-season.

-AAP

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