Club slapped with biggest fine in Aussie Rules history
- Published: 28/08/2013 at 01:49 AM
- Online news:
Top Australian Football League side Essendon were hit with the biggest fine in the sport's history Tuesday and coach James Hird banned for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute.
Top Australian Football League side Essendon were hit with the biggest fine in the sport's history Tuesday and coach James Hird, pictured on December 22, 2004, is banned for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute.
As well as being slapped with an Aus$2.0 million (US$1.8 million) penalty, the Bombers were kicked out of this year's finals series over a supplements scandal that has overshadowed the season.
The sanctions followed a six-month investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), which included more than 13,000 documents, into Essendon's 2011 supplement programme.
It claimed that Essendon either allowed players to be given substances that were prohibited by the AFL Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code, or that the club was unable to determine whether players were administered prohibited substances.
AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick expressed his distress at a saga which has dragged on for nearly seven months.
"The AFL Commission shares (AFL fans') anger and frustration that the 2013 season has too often been dominated by headlines we'd rather not see," he said in announcing the penalties.
"The issues involved in the Essendon Football Club's supplements programme are deeply disturbing.
"The investigation undertaken over the past six months and the actions we have taken today reflects this gravity."
There have already been casualties at the club as a result of the scandal with chairman David Evans and chief executive Ian Robson having resigned.
Hird had initially denied any wrongdoing and took Supreme Court action against the league and its boss Andrew Demetriou, but he has now backed down, reports said.
"We recognise that failings occurred at our club during this period. We must -- and do -- accept accountability and apologise for them," Essendon said in a statement on the AFL website.
"We have learnt from our mistakes and made substantial reforms to our governance and people-management practices to ensure the club will never be in this position again."
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency