‘Dons boss hits back at Thompson in AFL

Essendon chairman Paul Little has hit back at former coach Mark Thompson, who blasted the struggling AFL club at the weekend.

Thompson says that the Bombers are “drowning” as a result of the ongoing supplements saga.

Little denied Thompson’s claim that some members of the club board knew about the 2012 supplements regime.

That supplements program prompted a joint AFL-ASADA investigation.

The AFL anti-doping tribunal cleared 34 current and former Essendon players, but WADA are appealing that verdict.

“Mark alleged that some members of the Essendon Board were aware of the program of injections being conducted by Steven Dank,” Little wrote in a letter to members.

“Members of the Essendon board can categorically state that the board had no knowledge of the extensive program of injections conducted by Stephen Dank.

“At no stage did anybody involved, including Mark, raise concerns with the board about the program.”

Little also criticised Thompson for his comments about how the club had dealt with the fallout from the supplements controversy.

“He further seemed to suggest that the club has not done anything to rectify the governance failings which were evident three years ago and for which the club has been heavily and appropriately punished,” Little said.

“Essendon have made significant improvements to its governance procedures across all areas of the club.

“These initiatives have been made public and continue to form part of our governance framework internally.”

Thompson was interim coach last year while James Hird served his 12-month suspension.

Once Hird returned, Thompson left Essendon when he could not agree with the club on a new role.

“The way the club was managed at the time this took place was really poor and that’s why we’ve been fined and we’re accepting guilt,” Thompson told 3AW on Saturday.

“Have they done enough to rectify that … and where we are right now?

“You could probably, honestly say `no’, because it’s not working.”

Little is also the latest Essendon official to blast the succession of media leaks about the anti-doping tribunal hearing and WADA’s appeal.

On Monday, the Herald Sun published details of the tribunal hearing.

“Our players and staff were guaranteed confidentiality at the beginning of this process, but time and time again this has been undermined by the wilful leaking of confidential information,” Little said.

“The intent of these leaks is unclear. What is clear however is the individuals behind these leaks have no compassion for our players.

“Although these leaks don’t influence the outcome of the case, they do serve to harm the psyche and mental wellbeing of our players.

“The club failed our players in 2012 and the system and process continues to fail them now.”

Little called on the AFL Commission to investigate the leaks.

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