Dyson Heppell did not breach his suspension when he used social media to promote an Essendon sponsor, the AFL says.
The star midfielder, who will miss this season as one of 34 current and past Essendon players found guilty of an anti-doping charge, tweeted on Monday he would attend a local car launch for Kia, one of Essendon’s major sponsors.
“As I understand it there was no issue … he wasn’t in club-based gear and they’re a personal sponsor of his,” AFL chief Gillon McLachlan told reporters in Adelaide on Tuesday.
WADA’s successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport means Heppell, 11 of his teammates and five players at other clubs will miss this season.
“I’ll be down at @EssendonKia from 5:30 today for the launch of the new Kia Sportage. Pop over and say g’day and have a squiz at the new rigs,” Heppell said in the message.
The AFL initially directed enquiries about the tweet to ASADA but a spokesperson for the anti-doping body said it was a matter for the AFL.
“Clearly players need to be careful … (but) I’ve had advice this morning that there was no breach of his suspension,” McLachlan said on Tuesday.
There are strict guidelines around what the banned players at Essendon and other clubs can and cannot do during their suspension.
They are allowed to attend AFL games but cannot go into their changerooms.
They also cannot be involved in official club activities.