17 April 2015

AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal charges Stephen Dank

The Australian Football League (AFL) Anti-Doping Tribunal has found Stephen Dank guilty of 10 breaches of the AFL Anti-Doping Code during his time as a sports scientist at Essendon (pictured) during the 2012 season, when it was alleged that 34 current and former players were administered prohibited substances. A decision on what sanction to issue will be made on 5 May.

‘The Tribunal has found that the former Essendon support person has been found guilty of 10 breaches of the AFL Anti-Doping Code’, read a statement from the Tribunal. ‘The breaches include trafficking, attempting to traffick and complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances. The prohibited substances are: Hexarelin; Humanofort – namely Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), Insulin Growth Factor 2 (IGF – 2), Mechano Growth Factor (MGF), Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF), Follistatin and Thymosin Beta-4; CJC-1295· GHRP6; and SARMS.’

On 31 March, The Tribunal was unable to find any evidence that any of the 34 players were administered Thymosin Beta-4 during the 2012 season. In line with that decision, it cleared Dank of charges relating to attempting to administer the substance – a peptide hormone – to players, despite finding Dank guilty of trafficking the substance.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) has yet to decide whether it will appeal against the Tribunal’s decisions in respect of Dank and the 34 players, however it has been critical of its findings. ‘ASADA is disappointed in the Tribunal’s decision to clear Mr Dank of a number of serious alleged violations’, it said in a statement issued today. ‘ASADA notes that all 35 matters were heard concurrently by the tribunal. We also note the tribunal stated its preference was to release their decisions on all 35 matters at the same time. The reality however is that we have only just received the findings on Mr Dank. ASADA is disappointed that this comes as the window of appeal on the first 34 matters rapidly closes. ASADA will now consider both decisions in their totality.’ The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has previously said that it will wait for ASADA’s decision before deciding if it will join the appeal.

The Tribunal was, however, satisfied that Dank had trafficked Mechano Growth Factor to a Carlton support player – a part time coach who used to work at the club. It is understood that the coach used the substance to treat a personal injury and that it was not used on players. ‘At the time, I clarified that the AFL had confirmed to me it did not have any issue with the Carlton Football Club in relation to the matter’, read a statement from Carlton CEO Stephen Trigg. ‘That remains the case’.

It also was satisfied that Dank attempted to supply the CJC-1295 peptide to a Gold Coast Suns employee. It also accepted evidence that Dank had distributed growth hormone GHRP6 to a third party connected to baseball.

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