ASADA is refusing to be drawn on James Hird’s claim that crucial records were handed over to their investigators.
On Tuesday, the coach said that a spreadsheet listing which substances had been administered to 34 past and present players involved in the 2012 supplements program had previously been turned over to ASADA.
Hird made the claim just hours after the World Anti-Doping Agency announced it would appeal the AFL anti-doping tribunal’s verdict which cleared the players.
“I’ve seen a spreadsheet of players with thymomodulin written across the top, which was given to (then chief executive) Ian Robson, which was then given to the ASADA investigators,” Hird told FoxFooty’s AFL 360.
“So it’s not Essendon who has destroyed anything – that was given to the ASADA investigators.”
Thymomodulin is not a banned substance, with the joint AFL-ASADA investigation into the club’s controversial supplements program centred on whether thymosin beta-4, which is banned, had been given to players.
When contacted for a response on Wednesday, an ASADA spokesman issued a one-line statement: “ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt stands by his previous comments regarding the deplorable lack of records in this matter.”
McDevitt has previously declared his belief that there is no way of knowing what was actually given to the players as part of the program he labelled an “injections regime”.
Essendon was sanctioned heavily by the AFL in 2013 for their poor governance practices in overseeing the supplements program.
Former senior assistant coach Mark Thompson vouched for the existence of the spreadsheet.
“Mine was on an A3 (piece of paper),” Thompson told FoxFooty.
“It was an Excel spreadsheet. I don’t know where it was given but I’ve seen it.
“I assume they (ASADA) took all the paperwork.”
Robson, who resigned over his role in the scandal, couldn’t specifically back Hird’s claim of the existence of such a record.
“I’m not going to be drawn on any one specific document,” Robson told SEN Radio on Wednesday.
“If you go back and look closely … I think we’re talking north of 3000 documents.
“Every single document that the club had was handed over.
“On the specific point that James was referencing I’m happy to be very clear that every document – every document – that the club had, whether they be emails in electronic form or hard copy documents, everything was handed over to the AFL-ASADA joint investigation because we were fully cooperating.”
Despite ASADA’s assertions, Hird remains adamant no banned substances were injected into his players and is confident they’ll be cleared when WADA’s appeal is heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“People at the Essendon football club believe they didn’t take thymosin beta-4 and are very confident they didn’t,” he said.
“We know what happened, we know the players are innocent, we know they haven’t done anything wrong and we know that the players will get found innocent again.”