Friday, 14 June 2013

12- Horvath Summation

We have tweeted much over the course of the season about the Essendon - ASADA Affair, but have not blogged very much on the topic.
It is extremely complex, multi-layered and still subject to inquiry.

As the season has rolled on, we have drafted up a few blog ideas around the affair, but there was always some other turn of events or release of information that meant what was drafted was out of date.

So we have tended to defer to twitter and its immediacy.

But this week, we will preamble the tips with some understandings of WADA rules and precedents. We fully understand the ASADA investigation continues and make no inferences of guilt. The below is the WADA code penalties, spelt out for any player in the AFL found in breach. Plain and simple.
So again, if all you want is the tips... hit page down a few times

The WADA possible outcomes and precedents were published this week by, and written by Paul Horvath, who is a principal of law firm SportsLawyer, and co-chair of the Law Institute of Victoria's sports law committee. also notes that the article (linked via the headline below) is itself an extraction of a larger article that will be published in the Victorian Law Institute Journal's July edition.

We run excerpts of this without permission (and will happily take it down if asked) as an exercise is sharing the knowledge and educating AFL followers.

WADA-compliant AFL Anti-Doping Code severe in penalties on banned substances
Paul Horvath    Herald Sun    June 12, 2013
The AFL's Anti-Doping Code applies on a strict liability basis: "It is each player's personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his body."Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing use on the player's part be demonstrated in order to establish an (offence)."
Players can generally raise two defences based on exceptional circumstances.They must show "no significant fault or negligence" (penalty 12-24 months) or "no fault or negligence" where "the player (must) establish that he did not know or suspect, and could not reasonably have known or suspected" that he was using a prohibited substance or method (penalty 0-12 months).
Where a player "has provided substantial assistance to the AFL, Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, or another anti-doping organisation which results in that organisation discovering or establishing an anti-doping rule violation by another", the two years may be reduced to a minimum of six months. This type of penalty reduction requires the approval of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
This clause relates to information provided that leads to the prosecution of another person. In the Lance Armstrong case, up to nine cyclists gave assistance to the US Anti-Doping Authority and received six-month suspensions.
It can be seen the circumstances are extremely rare where suspension has been avoided altogether. It is arguable in some of the AFL and NRL cases at present, this could be justified.Aurora Andruska, the chief executive of ASADA, has been quoted as saying that, where an athlete has taken a prohibited substance, the only circumstance she is aware of where suspension has been avoided altogether was where a patient is unconscious on the operating table and was unknowingly injected with a substance.
The message is clear. The WADA-compliant AFL Anti-Doping Code is severe in penalties, and how those penalties are applied.

The above, and more in the link, is powerful stuff and a reality check of where this whole investigation may head.
What is not listed, and we often get asked about on twitter, is what sanctions could be imposed beyond the WADA suspensions for players and club officials, subject to guilt being proven.

Are we looking at removing competition points? From which season... the one when the PEDs were taken, or the one where they were detected and prosecuted?
Draft sanctions? Financial penalties? Deregistrations of officials?
Suspension of a club from a full season?
Combinations of the above?

Uncertain, mind boggling times ahead. But as we are constantly reminded... no putting of carts before horses!

Spot the close one.
Yep a 2 goal margin is as exciting as we can predict this week...

The rest of the games are one sided with the potential for train wreckery.
That said, you could see Carlton making a decent fist of it. And the Bulldogs can play well some times... but can they bring it on the day.
Also, the Suns might really take it up to Essendon, as we think Gold Coast are the big improvers of the season, as per the Mezzoculo Index below.


Bubble size indicate likelyhood to win in the next three games. Example: Carlton look to be in a bad patch of their schedule (next 3: v Hawthorn, v Sydney, v Collingwood).

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