League: Essendon start under drugs cloud

Gillon McLachlan. Photo / Getty Images
Gillon McLachlan. Photo / Getty Images

Essendon are set to start the AFL season under a cloud of suspicion, with an investigation into the potential use of performance-enhancing drugs by multiple Bombers players likely to take months to complete.

AFL deputy chief executive Gillon McLachlan confirmed yesterday that Essendon was the one AFL club being investigated for possible multiple breaches of the World Anti-Doping Authority (Wada) code following the report by the Australian Crime Commission.

"I think it's reasonable to say, given that the Essendon football club has come forward to the AFL and to Asada, and proactively advised us of concerns they have, it's reasonable to talk to that," said McLachlan.

"The AFL is aware of potential multiple breaches at that club."

A single player from another club was also being investigated, although McLachlan refused to reveal his identity.

"The AFL is aware of one case involving the possibility of Wada- prohibited performance-enhancing drug use by one player at one club," said McLachlan.

"The AFL is aware that a second case involves the possibility of Wada- prohibited performance-enhancing drug use by multiple players at one club.

"In this case it's possible that players were administered the Wada-prohibited substances without their knowledge or consent."

The Bombers play the opening match of the home and away season against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on March 22.

It was unlikely the investigations into alleged drug abuse at Essendon and by the other player would be completed by then.

-AAP

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