Bombers coach to sue AFL

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 21 Agustus 2013 | 20.01

Essendon coach James Hird launched a scathing attack at the AFL at a press conference into the use of performance drugs at the Essendon Football Club

JAMES Hird will launch Supreme Court action against the AFL over its handling of footy's drugs investigation.

The Essendon coach's lawyers will act on Thursday morning in a dramatic escalation of the game's greatest crisis.

"We will be instituting proceedings," Hird's lawyer, Stephen Amendola, told the Herald Sun.

The seven-month drugs scandal exploded after the AFL chose to release its full list of charges against the Bombers.

The 34-page document revealed a litany of allegations detailing drug injections, substances brought back from China by a convicted drug dealer and claims of a health scare for Hird after he was injected with an exotic substance.

Doc's letter reveals he was kept in dark Watch 24/7 coverage on Fox Sports News with news+

Essendon described the move as an "ambush", and said a different set of charges had been presented to the club by the league in tense negotiations last week.

"The AFL is determined to punish the Essendon Football Club, and four individuals personally, as though we were drug cheats," club chairman Paul Little said.

Bombers coach James Hird told the media that AFL has ''continued its trial by media''. Picture: Getty Images

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick has called an extraordinary meeting of 18 club presidents for this afternoon.

Detailing the charges, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said: "The Essendon Football Club and other parties will be given every reasonable opportunity to answer these charges. There has been no predetermination of this matter."

One club president told the Herald Sun he expected the league to seek club support in punishing the Bombers and, potentially, kicking them out of the finals.

Little confirmed he would front the meeting.

The league is determined to resolve the dispute in a hearing before the AFL Commission.

But Hird's lawyers, acting with the support of the club, will today ask the Supreme Court to back the coach's demands for an independent hearing and the removal of AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou from any proceedings.

The Supreme Court statement of claim is also expected to detail the events of early February and the AFL's alleged involvement in the club's decision to "self-report" to the league and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

What Little and Hird said in full

AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has publically anounced the charges Essendon will be facing, while also confirming a meeting of all club presidents will be held in the near future.

AFL knew about AOD-9604

The AFL charged Essendon and its four officials - Hird, club doctor Bruce Reid, assistant coach Mark Thompson and footy boss Danny Corcoran - with bringing the game into disrepute 10 days ago over the 2012 supplements program.

The charges state:

ESSENDON players may have been given the banned performance enhancing drug thymosin beta-4 among 15 substances administered.

HIRD suffered unspecified "significant" side-effects from drugs he injected.

REID expressed his concern and frustration over the supplements regime in his missing letter to the club.

HIRD was warned by an AFL integrity officer in August 2011 to avoid peptides.

Essendon chairman Paul Little defends the club during a press conference. Picture: Stuart Walmsley

PLAYERS were to receive 1500 injections of AOD-9604 and a version of thymosin and more than 16,500 doses of colostrum and 8000 doses of tribulus.

Essendon last night revealed the AFL had presented the club with a different set of charges, focused mainly on governance failings, last Friday.

The full text of Dr Reid's letter and supporting documentation relating to the possible use of banned drugs feature in the 34-page document released.

Essendon also took aim at the AFL over claims a former member of the AFL's anti-doping tribunal was told in February that AOD-9604 was safe and not prohibited.

Dr Andrew Garnham, currently working as a consultant for Essendon, said scientific evidence showed AOD-9604 had minimal side-effects.

"That the AFL has known this for six months but let questions hang over the head of the club and most unforgivably our players, is reprehensible," Little said.

ASADA maintained it had never approved the use of AOD-9604.

A former member of the AFL's anti-drug tribunal tells AFL 360 the supplement at the centre of the Essendon scandal was "not illegal".

A defiant Hird said: "The AFL today continued its trial by media of me. We only received notification minutes before the AFL charges were made public.

"The announcement by ambush confirms the AFL is running an agenda, which again calls into question its impartiality."

Demetriou said the charges were only alleged, and that Essendon and its officials, had "every opportunity" to defend themselves.

AFL boss Andrew Demetriou fronts the media at AFL House. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

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