AFL sports sci­en­tist found guilty of dop­ing charge

The China Post - - SPORTS -

The Aus­tralian Foot­ball League (AFL) anti-dop­ing tri­bunal on Fri­day found a sports sci­en­tist at a lead­ing club guilty of 10 code breaches in­clud­ing traf­fick­ing in a case that sent shock­waves through the sport.

Stephen Dank was de­scribed as the man at the cen­tre of the Essendon club sup­ple­ments scan­dal on the AFL web­site, which an­nounced the guilty ver­dict.

The de­ci­sion came af­ter the tri­bunal last month cleared 34 Essendon play­ers ac­cused of us­ing a banned sup­ple­ment, although the coun­try’s anti-dop­ing watch­dog ASADA in­sisted what hap­pened at the club was “ut­terly dis­grace­ful.”

Past and present play­ers from Mel- bourne-based Essendon al­legedly used pro­hib­ited sub­stances to aid re­cov­ery from in­jury dur­ing the 2012 sea­son, but ASADA lawyers failed to pro­vide suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to prove their case.

How­ever, Dank, who also de­nied any wrong-do­ing, will now be sanc­tioned for his breaches on May 5, the AFL said. The tri­bunal was not “com­fort­ably sat­is­fied” about 21 other charges he faced.

“The tri­bunal has found that the for­mer Essendon sup­port per­son (Dank) has been found guilty of 10 breaches of the AFL anti-dop­ing code,” the league said in a state­ment.

“The breaches in­clude traf­fick­ing, at­tempt­ing to traf­fic and com­plic­ity in mat­ters re­lated to a range of pro­hib­ited sub­stances.”

Dank was ac­cused of be­ing the ar­chi­tect of the sup­ple­ments pro­gram and over­see­ing what sub­stances the play­ers took.

AFL gen­eral coun­sel An­drew Dil­lon said the case had been “the most com­plex ever tried by the AFL Tri­bunal.”

“The cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the case have been ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, given the amount of in­for­ma­tion and the num­ber of par­ties in­volved,” he added.

The sup­ple­ments scan­dal saw the top Aus­tralian side in 2013 hit with the big­gest fine in the sport’s his­tory — AU$2.0 mil­lion (US$1.8 mil­lion) — and coach James Hird banned for 12 months for bring­ing the game into dis­re­pute.

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