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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Former Essendon high performance manager Dean Robinson initially filed suit in October against Essendon for breach of contract. Robinson was stood down shortly after the supplements scandal broke in February. It is believed he is seeking compensation in excess of $2 million. Robinson, who stated in a TV interview that Hird approved a "black ops" program with Stephen Dank and himself took a banned substance, claims the club made him a scapegoat. He also believes that his reputation is damaged the extent that he will be unable to find employment at another club. Hird denied the accusation. Nor was Robinson's claim substantiated by ASADA's report.

Essendon claims that Robinson failed to provide an adequate process to ensure compliance with the rules and the approval of supplements. The club also contends that Robinson failed to control spending and that he was directly responsible for the conduct of sports scientist Stephen Dank. The club has argued that the coaches lost confidence in him in 2012 when the team fell victim to a raft of soft tissue injuries, well above the League average.

Essendon claims they issued a written warning in 2012 to Robinson and that, in a session with suspended football manager Danny Corcoran and former CEO Ian Robson, he was told of the club's concerns and lack of confidence. He was admonished for an ''unwillingness to abide by directions'' and warned that he could face demotion. The club has denied Robinson's claims that Corcoran told another staff member that his contract would be renewed through 2014. The club further alleges that Robinson was bound by the club's code of conduct in his contract, a contract which could be terminated if he were found guilty of "misconduct" or behaved in a manner that ''will or is likely to adversely affect the reputation or public image'' of the club. To that end, the contract was very explicit in that Robinson was obliged to ''exercise reasonable care and diligence ... and comply with all reasonable instructions to protect … the health and safety of others and to not be involved with anything that would bring the reputation of the club into disrepute."

Robinson stated that he was not invited to participate in the club's internal review - the Ziggy Switkowski report. However, the Bombers claim that he was invited but opted not to take part. The two parties are also at odds as to how Robinson came to be employed by the club. The club contends that Robinson himself contacted then assistant coach Brendan McCartney in 2011, saying things were not working out for him at the Gold Coast Suns and he would be interested if a position were available at Essendon. Robinson knew McCartney, now senior coach at the Bulldogs, from their time together at Geelong. It was after that, according to the Bombers, that Robinson was interviewed by Corcoran, then football manager Paul Hamilton, James Hird and interim coach Mark Thompson. Robinson claims he was "head-hunted" by the Bombers and initially contacted by Thompson, whom he also knew from his time with the Cats. Court documents claim Robinson was asked to apply for the high-performance position in late 2011. Robinson subsequently signed for $290,000 a year with an additional $30,000 earned through the club's sponsors.

Source: theage.com.au

Article last changed on Thursday, January 09, 2014 - 1:37 AM EST


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