Code red at Windy Hill

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 15 Februari 2013 | 14.43

Former Essendon staffer Stephen Dank said that the players had intravenous injections, not drips or infusions when he appeared on the ABC's 7.30 program. Picture: Channel 2 Source: The Daily Telegraph

Macca Sport cartoon for Herald Sun 15/02/2013T Drip Picture: Mcarthur David Source: Herald Sun

ESSENDON seems certain to be found guilty of a breach of the AFL Anti-Doping Code if even one player admits being given legal intravenous infusions at Windy Hill.

Whether those infusions carried legal drugs or banned peptides, it is the manner in which they entered they body that would breach the AFL's code.

The AFL's code makes it clear intravenous infusions are "prohibited except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions or clinical investigations".

Those breaches of the code - "prohibited methods" - are viewed as just as serious as using "prohibited substances", and attract a two-year ban.

It is alleged Essendon players were taken over the road from Windy Hill to a Botox clinic and given intravenous drips.

In his 7.30 TV interview this week, former Essendon staffer Stephen Dank said that the players had intravenous injections, not drips or infusions.

Injections are allowed if the volume of the syringe used is less than 50ml and the substance is legal.

"Oh, look they had intravenous injections for vitamin B and vitamin C, which are quite compliant with the WADA code," Dank said of Essendon's players.

But ASADA will investigate whether players were also given infusions, the use of which has been illegal since 2005 under the WADA code.


The AFL's Anti-Doping Code refers to the intravenous infusions in the Chemical and Physical Manipulation section.

WADA's own documentation explains the ban on intravenous infusions since 2005, saying athletes can use drips to take steroids.

"IV infusion could provide a potential route for the administration of infused substances," it states.

Integrity officers for all clubs?

WADA's medical information supporting its ban on intravenous drips makes it clear that medical uses for intravenous drips must be "associated with medical emergencies and in-patient care".

One legal expert yesterday said on the condition of anonymity: "It is prohibited to have intravenous infusions. The allegation is they had them all year. It doesn't matter if it's water, or saline, or (steroids), the method being used is the issue."

Little incentive for Bombers to win

Former ASADA boss Richard Ings told the Herald Sun yesterday Essendon could not justify intravenous injections as necessary for medical purposes, because prior approval was needed.

"Any athlete or player or trainer who needs to use a banned substance or banned method must get pre-approval from the Australian Sports Medical Advisory Committee before their treatment, and there is no retrospectivity," he said.

Essendon players training at Windy Hill in 2012. Picture: Colleen Petch Source: Herald Sun

While the ASADA and AFL investigation into Essendon and biomechanist Dank could take months, there is some hope for Essendon.

Ings yesterday expressed doubt about the potential for blood from Essendon players to be flown across the world for tests on peptides. And the Australian Crime Commission conceded on Thursday it did not collect any information from wire taps about doping in sport during its 12-month investigation.

It means Dank was not caught in any incriminating evidence during phone conversations, and the players are unlikely to be found taking PEDs through blood tests.

Dank and Essendon continue to deny that any performance-enhancing drugs were used.

Essendon players could hope to use the AFL's own Anti-Doping Code to argue for a full discount, or "elimination" of their potential penalty. The AFL's code, which closely mirrors the WADA code, has a clause that provides for no penalty if the player can prove they bore "no fault" for drugs entering their system.

Both codes state the case must be "truly exceptional", but the AFL's rule 14.4 states the period of ineligibility can be eliminated if an individual "bears no fault of negligence for the violation".

The clause is inserted for players who have their samples sabotaged.

AFL deputy chief executive Gillon McLachlan said last night the league has made contingency plans for a 17-team competition this year should Essendon be unable to compete.

Essendon legend James Hird can see change for the better on the horizon. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Herald Sun

"I think it is our responsibility to canvass and plan for every scenario," McLachlan said on Channel Nine.

"There is a technical scenario where, if every allegation was true and you took out and interpretation of the code and you took a certain set of timings then that could be true, so you have to plan for that."

But speaking on Channel Seven league boss Andrew Demetriou stated his confidence that Essendon would play out the 2013 season uninterrupted.

At this stage we've got nothing that indicates otherwise," Demetriou said.

With Matt Windley

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