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LEAKING DAMAGE TO AFL

Arguably, premature negative coverage of the Essendon saga could have contributed damage to the games reputation and image. Many of the articles, which Age reporter Caroline Wilson wrote about the Essendon saga, damaged Hirds / Essendons reputation and image. If it can be proven that the AFL or ASADA officials leaked to Wilson or to any other media person, the AFL is guilty of engaging in conduct unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests of, or reputation of, the Australian Football League or to have brought football into disrepute. The following quotes from Wilsons Age article, 17 July 2013, is overwhelming evidence that she was being leaked information about the joint AFL ASADA investigation Item 1: The AFL warned James Hird in late 2011 to not involve his players in a peptides program. Item 2: Sources close to the joint investigation [my emphasis] by ASADA and the AFL into Essendon have told Fairfax Media that the AFL warning came after senior league officials had leant that Hird had been investigating the anti-doping status of certain peptides. Item 3: Investigators appear to have built a compelling case that Bombers coach James Hird was an enthusiastic supporter of the clubs injecting program. Item 4: Evidence has also emerged suggesting that Hirds senior assistant, Mark Thompson, cautioned the Bombers coaching group and football staff against the injecting program. Item 5: While Hird has said he was confident the club would be in a ve ry good position once the investigation had been completed, that investigation appears to have built a compelling case that the Bombers senior coach was an enthusiastic supporter of Danks program, support strongly backed by his football operations boss, Danny Corcoran. Item 6: It is believed that Hirds performance in his interview in May with ASADA and the AFL did

not completely convince investigators

LEAKING DAMAGE TO AFL

[my emphasis] that the senior coach had acted appropriately in demonstrating due diligence. Item 7: And

evidence from some key witnesses has not been favourable to Hird [my emphasis], painting a picture of a coach Never
adequately controlled or challenged within the club.

If Wilsons sources are members of the ASADA / AFL investigation team, or AFL officials who have been tipped off by the investigation team, they have breached the Crimes Act. AFL chief executive, Andrew Demetriou should have conducted his own investigation into the leaks or suggested the Australian Crime Commission conducted such an investigation. My experience is leakers / sources have ulterior motives. Wilson should have questioned the motives of her sources, before assassinating her target. The sources in this instance were obviously using Wilson to manipulate the story, and in so doing have engaged in conduct unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests of, or reputation of the Australian Football League or to bring the game of football into disrepute. As Wilson played such a pivotal role in the negative coverage of the saga, James Hird could not possibly defend himself properly at the AFL Commission hearing on 26 August if his lawyers cant question Wilson. If this is not permitted, Hird has no choice but to go court and subpoena Wilson.

Bruce Francis