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Players scapegoated in WADA finding, inquiry needed

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 12 Jan 2016

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, a former VFL footballer and doctor, says a broad-ranging inquiry is needed to evaluate Australia's anti-doping framework.

"The current system focuses almost exclusively on the players and ignores many of the individuals and organisations involved in this saga," Senator Di Natale said.

"This episode has revealed problems in Australia's anti-doping framework. It has failed players, for whom clubs have a duty of care. It has failed fans, who want to know they're seeing the best skills, not the best pharmacist. And it has failed all those who want to participate in what should be a really healthy, enjoyable, wholesome activity.

"There are no winners out of today's finding. While many of the perpetrators have moved on, 34 current and former Essendon players are now facing the consequences of a club-wide systematic practice, four years after it was uncovered.

"The response by Australian authorities has been too slow, wasted enormous resources and achieved very little.

"I'm calling on the Sports Minister to initiate a broad independent inquiry to review this case and examine issues such as ASADA's powers and funding and whether the WADA code, designed for Olympic sports, is appropriate for team sports such as the AFL.

"I know from my own experience that integrity in sport matters deeply to players, administrators and the fans whose teams are a central part of their identity.

"All those things sport teaches you, about teamwork, hard work and accepting the rules of the game are undermined when you have people doing the wrong thing and an ineffective system to stamp it out," Senator Di Natale said.

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