The Essendon Football club has pleaded guilty to occupational health and safety charges that stem from its ill-fated supplements program in 2011-2012, essentially admitting that they have failed to provide their players a safe workplace, says a report from OHS Alert.
Supplements programme was ‘experimental’
Essendon was charged in early November by WorkSafe Victoria for two violations of the State Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. Among the allegations thrown the football club’s way was that the club’s player supplements regime for the 2012 AFL season was experimental and involved a banned peptide, thereby exposing its players to health and safety risks. The programme is also being criticised for being poorly controlled for much of its duration.
Ex-rookie granted access to documents
Further complicating Essendon’s legal woes is the decision of the Victorian Supreme Court to compel the AFL to give former Essendon rookie Hal Hunter access to documents related to its own investigation into the doping scandal. Hunter, who was dropped from Essendon’s rookie list without playing a senior match, has testified to the court against his former team, and has requested the documents, which includes all his medical records as well as any Essendon and AFL records on the team’s administration of supplements to its players so he can decide whether to file suit against both organisations or not.
Doping scandals in sports are not entirely new, but they are mostly initiated by the players themselves. In this supplements scandal, however, it’s the team management that is being accused of pushing its players into doping, and that is certainly alarming. I mean, how certain are we that other teams in other team sporting leagues around the world aren’t doing what Essendon just pleaded guilty to? Perhaps its time for sporting league officials everywhere to take a closer look at the practices of its teams and see if there’s another Essendon in their midst.