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Footy World Divided On Replacement Players
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Here are reactions from around the footy world to the replacement players allowed for Essendon, but not for other affected clubs:

Journalist Martin Blake, who has a weekly spot on Kevin Bartlett's show Hungry For Sport, said that since the players had been convicted, there should be no compensation. He accused the AFL of compromising, saying the league didn't want a powerhouse club like Essendon to not be able to field a team. He said the club should just have elevated the rookies.

Former Bulldog and Tiger coach Terry Wallace queried why Port Adelaide weren’t allowed to replace Angus Monfries,

All Clubs To Get Academies
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Football operations boss Mark Evans said the AFL was determined to make sure people who might not have been raised with a traditional football background or access to the traditional AFL pathways feel welcome to play the game, "We will use the expertise, resources and brand power of clubs out in regional communities to help find ... and develop young talent ... all cultures, all backgrounds ... clubs can attract and develop some talent ... and ... have the ability to receive some incentive ... similar to the bidding system used for the northern academies."

Essendon Sign Seven AFL Says No To Other Clubs
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The Bulldogs, Saints, Demons and Port Adelaide have all been denied their request to the AFL to replace their suspended players with an extra primary player (from the recent national draft) or rookie listed player. AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the circumstances did not call for special treatment or exception to the rules beyond those already granted - upgrading a rookie listed player to the senior list.

What's Next For Essendon and AFL
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago


For the immediate present, the two biggest issues facing Essendon are replacing the suspended players and whether or not Jobe Watson keeps his 2012 Brownlow Medal. The league has already put provisions in place for replacement players for Essendon as well as Melbourne, Port Adelaide, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs. For the latter four, they can upgrade rookies to their a rookie to their respective senior lists to replace the suspended players.

Of course, it is a bit more complicated for Essendon. However, the AFL had held meetings with Essendon and the AFLPA and came up with several resolutions:

Footy World Reacts To Essendon Verdict
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago


Needless to say, almost everyone was shocked at the decision by the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS)- not so much the verdict itself but rather the severity. The 34 past and present players, their families, friends and supporters are devastated. The AFL, AFLPA and Essendon have all excepted the verdict and are and will be the ramifications.

World Court: Essendon 34 Guilty
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago 

Essendon's worst fears were realized on January 11 with the Court of Arbitration for Sport finding 34 past and present players guilty of taking banned substance Thymosin Beta-4. Even with backdating and time served during the provisional suspensions, the active players in both the AFL and at other levels of competition are banished until mid-November. The suspensions also mean no contact whatsoever or training with their respective clubs.Twelve of the 34 are still at Essendon while the others have either retired, been delisted and gone elsewhere or traded.

AFL Rookie Draft
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The Rookie Draft was held November 27 with some delisted players getting a second chance. Some players, such as un-registered or international, were pre-nominated under AFL rules. The number in front of the name is the draft selection, the original club in parentheses, followed by age, height and weight.

AFL Draft
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The National Draft was held on November 24. For this draft, the AFL developed a system and software to place points value on each draft pick. This allowed other clubs to use their allocated "selection points" to bid on designated academy and father-son players. The club for which that player was designated would then have to review their draft points and match the competing club's bid. The bidding and points system shuffled some draft selections. Recruiters used the software to help determine how many "points" they had to play with.

Essendon Penalized For Work Safety Breaches
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

With the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) hearings set to begin soon, Essendon has been hit from another front, this time in the form of work safety violations in relation to the supplements program. The club is facing two charges which basically state that the club failed to provide and maintain a working environment and a system of work for employees that was safe and without health risks. WorkSafe Victoria (the Australian equivalent of OSHA), also investigated the AFL but could not verify any breaches "to the standard required".

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