AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has welcomed ASADA’s action against controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank, saying it is overdue.
The authority has sent Dank a show-cause letter, which is said to allege 34 anti-doping breaches during his time at Essendon.
Dank’s legal team is now reviewing the notice.
Demetriou has also blasted Dank’s scheduled appearance at a fundraising lunch next week, calling it tacky.
News of the notice came a day before the AFL season starts with the Friday night Collingwood-Fremantle clash at Etihad Stadium.
“Long overdue – disappointing that it’s happening on the eve of the season,” Demetriou told Fairfax Radio when asked about the development.
“I would have preferred that it was sent earlier, but it is what it is and it’s not a surprise.”
The notice was sent after the Federal Government appointed retired judge Garry Downes to help ASADA with the complex Essendon and Cronulla supplements investigations.
Dank is a central figure in the two investigations and it is unclear whether ASADA will send him a separate notice in relation to the NRL club.
Downes has an April deadline to finalise his report.
“We welcome the appointment of the federal court judge,” Demetriou said.
“It just appears that they are working towards that (April) and I think it is good for everybody.”
But the saga could well drag on for months once Downes makes his recommendations.
ASADA started the investigations more than a year ago and Demetriou said he did not why they were taking so long.
“It was a very complex issue and it continues to be a complex issue – unlike anything that’s been experienced in this country before and I don’t even know on a global scale when you’re talking about a team,” he said.
“It has gone on long enough and let’s hope it draws to a close.”
Demetriou also expressed sympathy for Essendon players who could potentially be charged with anti-doping offences.
“You’d have to think that young men would find it hard,” he said.
“I don’t know anyone … who wouldn’t be thinking about the ramifications and what this all means, this causing angst.
“It would be impossible to almost make yourself immune to what’s going on around you – of course it would have some effect.”
Demetriou also made his feeling clear about plans to have Dank speaking at a sportsman’s lunch on March 21.
“It’s tacky – given that he’s been asked on countless occasions to appear and to front inquiries, for him to appear at a sportsman’s lunch speaks more about him than it does anything else,” Demetriou said..
“I don’t know what they’re trying to achieve by having him there, but I wouldn’t take it too seriously.
“There will be interest, but I’m not quite sure what he’ll be talking about.”