ASADA fumes after tribunal’s Dank findings

ASADA has suffered another blow, making its frustration and disappointment clear with the AFL anti-doping tribunal’s verdicts on sports scientist Stephen Dank.

The tribunal found Dank guilty of 10 out of 31 doping-related charges.

Dank oversaw Essendon’s controversial 2012 supplements regime.

“ASADA is disappointed in the tribunal’s decision to clear Mr Dank of a number of serious alleged violations,” the national anti-doping body said in a statement.

The tribunal’s verdicts, released late on Friday afternoon, come only four days before ASADA has to decide whether it will appeal against the same tribunal’s not-guilty findings on 34 current and past Essendon players.

When the tribunal announced those not-guilty verdicts on March 31, the AFL indicated the Dank verdicts would be announced after Easter.

The Dank verdicts were made public at 5pm (AEST) on Friday and ASADA said it received them at 3.30.

“ASADA notes that all 35 matters (Dank and the 34 players) were heard concurrently by the tribunal,” the anti-doping body said.

“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 day after the players were found not guilty, ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt said his organisation wanted to examine the tribunal’s Dank findings before making the call on whether it appealed against the players’ verdicts.

Once ASADA’s 21-day appeal window closes, the World Anti-Doping Agency also has 21 days to consider its own appeal against the player verdicts.

Crucially, the tribunal was not comfortably satisfied that Dank administered the banned substance Thymosin beta-4 to any Essendon players.

ASADA had also charged the Essendon players with taking Thymosin beta-4.

Those charges were laid after a two-year joint ASADA-AFL investigation and the players’ not guilty verdicts were a major setback for the anti-doping body.

Dank refused to cooperate with the investigation and did not appear at his tribunal hearing.

He has threatened legal action of his own and said earlier this week that he was waiting for the tribunal verdicts before deciding what to do.

Dank has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong at Essendon.

The tribunal found Dank guilty of trafficking banned substances to staff at Essendon.

It was also comfortably satisfied that Dank trafficked a banned substance to an unnamed Carlton support person in 2012.

As well, Dank was found guilty of attempting to traffic a banned substance to support staff at Gold Coast.

And he was found guilty of trafficking offences in baseball.

Finally, Dank was found guilty of trafficking the banned substances GHRP6 and Mechano Growth Factor to customers at the Medical Rejuvenation Clinic.

“The breaches include trafficking, attempting to traffic and complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances,” the AFL said in a statement.

The three-man tribunal’s verdict was unanimous. It will sit again on May 5 to decide penalty.

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