Essendon chairman Paul Little has fired another shot at ASADA by suggesting the anti-doping body backed away from a deal in which Bombers’ players would avoid bans.
Reports which surfaced earlier this week of emails between ASADA and the AFL’s then-deputy chief Gillon McLachlan in February and March 2013 have sparked further anger in the Essendon camp.
McLachlan said on Friday the group of more than 50 leaked emails didn’t contain any deals for players to avoid sanction.
“We worked through with ASADA a framework that was put to the players about how the investigation was going to run, how the interviews were going to run and what sanctions were available under the code,” McLachlan told 3AW.
“That’s what that referred to. The agreement that was read to the players was about how the process was going to run and how the code worked and what was available.”
But Little, who was an Essendon board member at the time and became chairman in July 2013, has blasted ASADA.
“As a board member, we were of the view there had been an agreement reached and we were very surprised when ASADA had appeared to have gone back on what was the original agreement,” Little said on Channel Seven on Saturday night.
ASADA has extended the 34 players’ response time to the show-cause notices, issued earlier this month, to July.
The Federal Court will hear Essendon’s arguments on the legality of the ASADA investigation on June 27.
ASADA’s 16-month investigation into Essendon’s 2012 supplements regime has featured various legal battles, leaving all parties frustrated.
“We were given certain time frames on how long the investigation would continue. Clearly we’re now well beyond that,” Little said.
Essendon coach Mark Thompson says some players are coping better than others.
“You go through all different phases. It’s like grieving,” Thompson said on Friday.
“At times you get angry. You want to fight; you want to vent.”
McLachlan says it’s an incredibly challenging time for the players.