Essendon Saga: Statement from AFL Fans’ Association

With a decision announced today by the Court of Arbitration for Sport the appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency was upheld . Current and former Essendon players have been found guilty of doping offences and will miss the entire 2016 season.

The AFL Fans Association released this statement:


Essendon fans face a bleak 2016 following the suspension of 34 past and present players, the AFL Fans Association says.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) this morning revealed it had upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appeal. The Essendon players involved have been suspended for the 2016 season.

AFLFA president Gerry Eeman says it is a sad day for AFL football and the verdict will affect the entire 2016 season.

While the AFLFA does not feel it is appropriate for it to comment on the rights or wrongs of the three-year saga, Gerry says it feels for Essendon fans who have already endured three years of pain.

“There are no winners in this sorry saga and many losers,” Gerry says. “We really feel for loyal Essendon fans who have stuck by their team throughout. They are all shattered today and rightly so.”

AFLFA membership is free and fans are encouraged to join at


  1. As a staunch Bombers supporter and member I am devastated by the severity of the CAS decision. But it is the players whose careers have been largely ruined that I feel mostly for. They don’t deserve this. The CAS decision begs the question though – what evidence did they possess that presumably ASADA didn’t have that allowed them to bring down a guilty verdict? Or was it simply a “best guess” on their part? Given the devastating implications of the outcome surely the onus is now on the CAS to publicly justify their decision in terms of the specific evidence it was based on.
    Des Ivins

  2. kath presdee says

    The CAS have published its decision – you can find it at

  3. A good day for media product providers, seasonally-fasting football tragics, and committed antidisestablishmentarists. A bleak day for the Appalling Football League et al, the EFC et al, and the rest of us, who have been hoping like hell this whole bl**dy shambles was dead, buried and cremated – to quote the late Anthony Abbott.

    But really Nackers, whether you see it as the gift that keeps on giving or death by a thousand cuts, enough is surely enough. What’s it been now — three or four years? And with the scene set for a class action, there’s plenty more to come.

    For instance – picture the queue along Melrose Drive waiting to audition for the cast of the 2016 season of Bomberland, the Musical? (Eddie Perfect’s already working the opening number – Ed)

    Now while I’m not sure what it is, don’t AFL regs require that a high percentage – say 90-95% – of the salary cap be distributed? This bait will surely test the resolve the cream of the Ammos and the Country Leagues.

    And what sort of percentage advantage is the situation going to gift those who play the Bombers twice this season? (Or for a few seasons to come – Ed)

    Furthermore, the CAS verdict overrules the decisions arrived at by the judiciary of the pertinent sporting body, their own local representative body, and the Courts of the Land; where does that leave their judicial powers? And is there an appeal process?

    Sir Frank Downright has maintained all along that natural justice has been denied the defendants in the case. Are we heading for The Hague with this one? And could it bring down governments and other sporting administrations around the world?

    Never mind Global Warming & Climate Change, this could change the way we look at ourselves and how we function in a geo-political sense. Could the actions of one fearless football coach be the catalysts for saving the Planet?

    I’ll leave you with it, the springer’s just given a jolt. I think I’ve got a cod on the line.

  4. Thunderoad says

    It would be remiss not to mention supporters of the 17 other AFL clubs at this point.

    They not only had to put up with this Essendon perpetuated saga for three years but their clubs also had to face a side who where routinely and systematically cheating.

    Essendon supporters by in large backed Hird and Little so sympathies are only going to stretch so far.

  5. I haven’t had sympathy for the AFL since shortly after Federation so that is hardly likely to change now.

    If the greater good (of what? Discuss among yourselves) is best seen to by the Essendon Football Club ceasing to exist in its present form, so be it. I have great sympathy for the Essendon supporters I actually know. I have none at all for the noisy flogs on the Social Bloody Media, which lately are the only ones I’m hearing from. (That said, I am completely over the schadenfreude, which wasn’t exactly hilarious on day 1 but now we’re at day 18956 (approx.) it is tiresome and try-hard.)

    I have some sympathy for the players but the option remains open for them to sue the Club. Into oblivion if necessary.

    I couldn’t give a flying Dutchman what happens to the 2012 Brownlow Medal. I have heard that Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell basically share this view.

  6. I feel sorry for the fans too – thet have been lied to and mislead by a favoured son, who still refuses to admit anything. By an outside consultant who refuses to reveal what happened. And so on.
    Time for the members of the Bombers to finally rise up and remove these blemishes, nad get back to playing CLEAN football.

  7. There’s some talk about that 12 months is a hefty ban on the players. Really? It’s a 12 month ban, which is pretty light on as far as bans on systematic drug cheats go. All the other penalties have been against the club, and its administration & football staff. And all the fines went into the coffers of the AFL. There’s even a hindsight argument going around that if this had been handed down at the beginning all this angst could have been avoided. Crikey, if only we could run to world in reverse and the timelessness of the Stone Age and the banquet of the Garden of Eden isn’t out of the question. (Fast Reverse the various revolutions of the Age of Enlightenment, The Inquisition, the Roman circus, and the Biblical genocides and I’ll sign on for that journey Wrap – Ed)

  8. The People's Elbow says

    “…every time you embolden your fan base and arm them with conspiracy theories, hidden agendas and crackpot hashtags, you’re a step away from at least some of these rusted-on supporters hating you with the heat of a thousand suns should it be exposed as a rhetorical sleight of hand to temporarily distract the masses from the fact you still don’t know what you injected into 30-odd young men in your care.”

  9. I agree totally with all the above. How could any decent, truth-loving citizen not? But where are the steak knives? As much as the EFC administration was gutted for complicity in the scandal, so should the AFL administration. Starting with the condemnation of the recently departed CEO, and the sacking of the current one. I mean really, why are we paying him – yes, we the Football Public pay his 7-figure x 2 stipend – to read from the CEO text manual defending the AFL cash cow from condemnation? I’m sure with the advances in IT we could train a monkey to press the buttons that would deliver the sugary drivel he pours all over us. And that we accept.

    And what about the current EFC Chairman? Lindsay Tanner. (Right mouse tanner and look up the meaning. Tanner by name and tanner by nature) He comes to Melrose Drive with a background of the no care and no responsibility that is sadly the trademark of the modern Australian Labor Party. I can’t believe what’s coming out of his mouth. But then again, they don’t call it Whingy Hill for nothing. The scariest part is that I think he sincerely believes what he’s saying.

    Furthermore, and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here, but did I hear that the players were to be suspended from sport for 12 months and were not to be paid from sporting activities? And again, correct me if I’m wrong, but did I hear Matty Lloyd say on Footy Classified last night that Essendon were going to pay the 12 suspended players on their list? Well, if they can snub their snoot at one penalty, why can’t they snub their snoot at the suspension too? And what’s ASADA/WADA going to do about it? (Get real Wrap, maintenance at Melrose Drive will take 12 full-time groundsmen – Ed)

    But these are only minor issues. If you think the booing of Jobe Watson in 2015 was bad, wait till The Flying Syringes run out for season 2016. A decade or two in the wilderness won’t do them any harm. It might even knock some of the arrogance out of them. And they can keep Carlton company. At least their joint blockbuster will be a sellout.

    And while Essendon may deserve everything that’s coming their way, we don’t. We’ll get dished up another season of bullshit football just so the Appalling Football League can honour its contract with the people who hold the broadcast rights. The fair dinkum solution would be to have a bye each weekend for those drawn to play Essendon and close the club down for the season. That will give the richly rewarded maintenance staff a clean run at re-turfing the ovals and re-painting the clubrooms out at Whatever It Takes Land. I’m sure the Two Million Dollar Man can earn his salt by coming up with an equitable points allocation system for the rest of us.

  10. DBalassone says

    I’m spewing about WADA’s verdict ….this could cost Carlton the wooden spoon.

  11. I’m waiting by the letterbox for my invitation to go to Essendon training. They need to fill up the list. Could be an easy $300K pa in it for me.

  12. There is a reason EFC chose not record the details of the program. It was a banned substance.
    There is a reason the people responsible for the program chose to instruct the players not to report that they took injections. It was a banned substance.
    There is a reason the players chose to follow those instructions and not report the injections. It was a banned substance.
    There was a reason those responsible for and participating in the program chose to keep Dr Reid out of loop. It was a banned substance.
    There is a reason those responsible choose to say nothing or lie. It was a banned substance.
    The main word throughout all of this is CHOICE. All involved were informed consenting adults.
    All had a choice.

    I just don’t understand the “shock” being expressed by EFC and others.

    Do we bother to watch James on the ABC this Sunday night? Part of me says yes so I can throw my nachos at the screen. But I think no, I just want him to go away.

  13. Dips, if this had happened 55 years ago,I may have scraped in a game with the Essendon 2s.

    Thankfully, this crap didn’t happen all those years ago. Up until four years ago, Essendon Football Club was a club with high principals and integrity.

    I am not surprised, just very angry at those responsible for this fiasco at the Essendon Football Club.

    Lets hope that things improve rapidly for Tragic Dons like me.

  14. Wowsers Wrap, that’s coming off the Michael Holding run x2!

    Likewise, well put Daly. Even the Windy flat Earthers would struggle to argue with that summation. Right from the get-go I couldn’t for the life of me comprehend how so many players, especially the more experienced and brain blessed, failed to question or resist.

    Nice of caring James to tell his side of the truth now the horse has bolted for his boys. Going by what I heard on AW this morning I’m not expecting a Leigh Sales-esque performance from Tracey Holmes.

  15. Lucky for St James of Perpetual Petulance they’re not getting Luke Darcy to do the interview. With his penetrating stare and relentless questioning he has a way of cutting through to the truth, as we saw when he single handedly re-constructed The Weapon.

    And I see there’s more steak knives in the deal now too. Jobe Watson is leading his teammates in a legal challenge to sue the club he and his Father have served for several decades. Never mind that it could probably help destroy the club for several decades more Jobe. And why didn’t you lead your teammates in a challenge into what the hell was really going into their bodies back in 2012?

    Don’t bother returning your Brownlow son. Do the right thing and just flush it down the lavatory.

    And as for you O’Donnell, I’m ashamed of you. Selling out The Navy Blue & White Hoops to play out there where the Maribyrnong meets the Mountains. And for a mere $300K. Accounting can’t be that bad, surely.

  16. Essendon are now acceptable collateral damage. Guilt trips on their behalf can and should be laughed off.

  17. Barkly St End says

    Any legal eagles out there who aren’t card carrying members of the sickening WADA obsequiousness society?

    I’ve read the CAS judgement, and never before have I read so much speculation and leaps in logic.

    The main thing I would like to know from the legal eagles who are not card carrying members of the sickening WADA obsequiousness society is this: is it correct and/or just that all 34 individual footballers were found to have used TB4 when at no stage was any evidence presented that even one of them actually used TB4. Is it correct to arrive at a guilty verdict en masse?

  18. Barkly St End – people are convicted in our law courts all the time on the basis of strong circumstantial evidence and motive and no credible alternative explanation of events. Even when there is no witness to the actual offence and the equipment used to commit the offence can not be located. Were the jury wrong and just speculating when they convicted Gerard Baden-Clay?
    Similarly if a group of people conspire to commit an offence but you cannot conclusively prove which individual committed the offence, all can be convicted because of the common intent. The get-away driver gets convicted of armed robbery along with the bloke with the gun.
    I have read the CAS verdict as well and was very impressed by it’s depth and logic. I have no problem accepting that Hird and the players did not INTEND to take PED’s, but they were all (HIrd in particular) reckless and negligent about the possibility of that happening. Again a well accepted standard for conviction in our law courts. Companies and managers have a vicarious responsibility for the actions of their employees, regardless of whether the employee acted outside their permitted scope of activities.
    I am not a “legal eagle” but this stuff is taught in Management 101.

  19. Barkly St End says

    Thanks for the considered response Peter.

    Even in your example of the get-away driver, at a minimum, there will be evidence that he was in fact the get away driver.

    In this CAS example, there are very few links established between the 34 players and the actual use of TB4.

    On not one single occasion does there appear to be any evidence offered that at least one of the 34 players actually used TB4.

    It is correct and just to jump to the conclusion that all 34 used TB4?

    Don’t forget, we are talking about 34 individual charges for the use of TB4 – but the evidence has not been presented on an individual basis – and the CAS appears to have completely disregarded any unique individual circumstances, some of which cast great doubt that at least some of the players did NOT use TB4 (in fact one dissenting member came to precisely that conclusion).

  20. Obsequiousness. I had to look up the meaning. Some lovely examples: ass kisser, bootlick, brown nose, lickspittle, toad eater. There were several interesting and amusing explanations with these examples.

    Thesaurus says:
    Obsequiousness – abject or cringing submissiveness, the trait of being willing to yield to the will of another person or a superior force.
    Sounds like the defence put up by AFLPA.

    I love the Almanac and all who sail in her.
    I learn new stuff every day.

  21. Barkly Street end – mate, if there is no illegality, why don’t Essendon/Hird/Dank etc open their records of supplement administration and let us SEE that everything they did is within the rules. Also, as to standards of evidence – there are plenty of murder convictions and the cops can’t even find the body!

  22. Barkly St End says

    Rabid dog

    At the risk of stating the obvious: none of Essendon, Hird or Dank were sitting before the CAS.

    It was 34 footballers facing 34 individual charges – and the determination treats them as one – they have been found guilty en masse without any consideration of evidence relating to each individual footballer.

    I personally hope that they can find a way to appeal this to an Australian court where they might have a bit more of a chance of being treated with a degree of natural justice and where the ruling might be based on evidence rather than speculation.

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