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AFL red-faced after Prismall debacle


In a public relations disaster for the AFL, banned former Essendon player Brent Prismall is standing down from his job at the Western Bulldogs – after the league had previously assured the club he could continue his employment.

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The AFL confirmed late on Wednesday that Prismall had to stand down from his player welfare role, after ASADA intervened.

Prismall is among 34 past and current Essendon players who are serving doping bans that stem from the Bombers’ calamitous supplements saga.

After it emerged earlier in the day that Prismall was working at the Bulldogs during the ban, the club said they had advice from the AFL that it was alright for him to continue in the role he had had since 2012.

But ASADA declared otherwise, saying it had previously told the AFL Prismall should not be in the job while suspended.

“The AFL has today again been in discussions with ASADA on the matter of the implications of the suspensions for past and present players of Essendon and is pleased that the position of Brent Prismall’s employment has been resolved,” the league said in a statement.

“The AFL has forwarded advice to the Western Bulldogs this afternoon that Brent should stand down from his current role.

“At all times, the Western Bulldogs have complied with directions and advice from the AFL.”

The AFL added it would continue to have discussions with ASADA about the banned players and their activities.

The Bulldogs were caught in the middle, saying they had written advice from the AFL that it was alright for Prismall to keep working with them during the ban.

“Brent Prismall returned to his employment with the club after the club had clarified with the AFL that his duties and job description did not conflict with the arbitral award of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the penalties contained in it,” the ‘Dogs said.

“The AFL also informed the club at this time that it provided such consent and authorisation on the basis of advice received from ASADA.

“If the club is informed by the AFL that its position has changed, it will of course act in conformity with the AFL’s direction.”

But ASADA was equally adamant yesterday it had told the AFL that Prismall should stand down from his Bulldogs job while he served his suspension.

“On the issue of Mr Prismall’s employment … ASADA has previously provided clear advice to the AFL that he should not be working in that role,” the anti-doping body said in a statement to the AFL website.

“ASADA has not been privy to any conversations between the AFL and the Western Bulldogs since that advice, but we hope the situation is rectified as soon as possible.

“The AFL is the body responsible for enforcing the players’ sanctions in the first instance.”

Under section 22.1 of the AFL anti-doping code, no player declared ineligible may participate in any capacity in an AFL competition or activity.

After the AFL’s announcement, the Bulldogs said on Wednesday night that Prismall would stand down and they would continue to support him during his ban.


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