Former Essendon coach Mark Thompson says the club’s 2012 supplements program was unethical, but stopped short of calling it illegal.
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Thompson was an assistant at the Bombers when sport scientist Stephen Dank introduced the controversial supplements program at Windy Hill.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) and the AFL conducted a joint investigation into the program and delivered anti-doping verdicts to 34 current and former Essendon players.
After two years, the AFL Anti-Doping tribunal found no case against the 34 with ASADA yesterday announcing it would not appeal the decision.
However, ASADA has handed the case file to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who have 21 days to decide if it will make its own appeal.
In a wide-ranging interview on Fox Footy’s Open Mike program, Thompson said he believed the injection program to have been unethical, but said the club had not broken any rules.
“It’s grey – should systematic injection programs be put in place at clubs? No,” Thompson is quoted as saying by AAP.
“But were there rules against it? No.
“So ethically wrong to have it? Yes.
“Broken rules? No.
“Anything illegal taken? No.
“Was he (Essendon coach James Hird) totally responsible for that? When you think about the law, he’s not – he’s not even in the top 20, believe it or not … responsibility for compliance and governance.”
Essendon was hit with a record fine in August 2013, while James Hird was handed a 12-month suspension.
Thompson was fined $30,000 for his involvement in the saga.
The former Geelong coach took the reigns at the Bombers while Hird served his ban, guiding the club to the finals in 2014.
He left Essendon at the end of 2014 in somewhat acrimonious circumstances, and on Monday said he felt the club had not done enough to “protect its workers”.