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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA From Chicago

The on-field woes of the Melbourne Demons could extend to off-field with the AFL unhappy that the club may not have told officials everything they know about Stephen Dank and his association with their club doctor Dan Bates. In early February, acting AFL Operations Manager Gillon McLachlan contacted Demon CEO Cameron Schwab to ask about any association the club might have with Dank. Schwab denied knowing Dank but later called McLachlan, informing him that Bates had communicated with Dank when the club was considering hiring him. McLachlan advised Schwab to dump Dank immediately. These events came to light the same day Essendon held their brief press conference and provoked some explosive headlines and stories.

Just days later, the Australian Crime Commission released their extensive report about doping in sports. That report contained a heavy focus on Dank. Three weeks later, Schwab, president Don McLardy, Coach Mark Neeld and managers Neil Craig and Josh Mahoney met with McLachlan and other AFL officials to answer questions about Dank. The reply was that the club had ended any association with Dank in early February. Notes of the meeting taken by Schwab - who has since departed the club - indicate that AFL investigators intended to question Bates and that the AFL knew more about Dank than they would let on. AFL notes of the same meeting indicate that players had been injected with supplements at an external location but those injections were halted. The full details of Dank's association with Bates and the injections may not have been detailed at that meeting.

Club board member David Thurin began an internal investigation, focusing heavily on Bates. Bates told Thurin that, prior to February 5, he and Dank communicated frequently and, based on Dank's recommendations and research by Bates himself, players were sent to a clinic known to Dank for injections of vitamins B and C and an antioxidant. Late in 2012 and early 2013, Dank suggested to Bates that his supplements' supplier, Nima Alavi, become a club sponsor. Other projects which involved testosterone regulation and cold and flu preventions were alsodiscussed. None came to fruition due to Bates telling Dank they could no longer communicate.

Thurin handed his final report to his fellow directors on March 19. However, the report was missing some crucial information. That information exploded in the worst possible way for the club when text messages were aired on television in April. Those texts revealed injections of substances which may be banned, including the anti-obesity drug AOD-9604.

These revelations infuriated the AFL, with Andrew Demetriou saying the Demons could be in breach of League rules for withholding information. Questions still remain regarding full disclosure or lack thereof from Craig and other Demon officials of what they did or did not know about Dank. The Demons hit back, saying the AFL never acknowledged the information the club did pass on nor did the AFL acknowledge Thurin's planned review. According to one club insider, the AFL never requested a completed copy of Thurin's review. Nor did the League send investigators to the club until after the television program aired. Either way, the club could face serious sanctions from the League for the alleged breaches.


Article last changed on Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - 8:11 PM EDT

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