Sport AFL New twist in Essendon supplements saga

New twist in Essendon supplements saga

The drug which led to 34 Essendon players being banned in 2016 was only listed as a prohibited substance several months after the club stopped using it. Photo: AAP
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The drug administered to Essendon players that led to their suspension in 2016 was only listed as a banned substance several months after the injections were stopped.

A total of 34 Bombers players were banned for 12 months after a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled the players were injected several times with the banned substance Thymosin Beta-4.

But the drug was only deemed to be logged as prohibitive on February 4, 2013 – months after the club had stopped injecting the players.

The Herald Sun obtained the information under Freedom of Information laws.

“An ASADA official ran a check on the public site for “research” at 10.34am and no flag was generated for Thymosin Beta-4,” the newspaper report said.

“Another check on Thymosin Beta-4 just over two hours later at 12.59pm by an ASADA staffer listed it as ‘banned in sport’.

“The status update came on the same day AFL boss Andrew Demetriou called Essendon chairman David Evans about a secret investigation into the club’s supplements program, prompting the Bombers to ‘self-report’ to ASADA.”

Scientist Bob O’Dea said: “The evidence of a stitch-up is compelling”.

The players’ defence team did not know the timing of the logging of the ban when they were found guilty in January 2016, the publication added.

Questions have also been raised about the update’s timing, with suggestions it was an attempt by some staff to shore up evidence after the fact.

Former ASADA CEO Richard Ings, who led the organisation from 2005-10, was less than impressed by the revelations.

Ings said none of the new evidence would have any bearing on the decision reached by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“WADA determine what’s banned. Not ASADA,” he tweeted. “And no one argues successfully that TB-4 is not banned. EFC34 were well represented at both hearing. They lost.”

Ings went on to tweet the information was a matter of public record throughout the proceedings.

“We have been through this thymosin versus TB4 question years ago. It was argued at the hearings. TB-4 was banned before during and after CAS found it was used at EFC,” he wrote.

-with AAP