Tuesday, 27 August 2013

'The Most Significant Sanction in AFL History'

Essendon pushed the Boundaries and now they must pay the
Sickening Consequences,
'The Most Significant Sanction in AFL History'

Essendon has been gutted. The most sickening of blows for the Essendon Football Club has been agreed upon earlier today, with the charge being the greatest the AFL/VFL competition has made within it's history by a herculean stretch. Over the best part of 7 months, we've been discussing the severe consequences Essendon could receive if found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs. As of yet, all the findings that the AFL and ASADA have found are not privy to the public ear. These will soon come out, but at this stage the charges have been laid. The AFL has charged Essendon for bringing the game into disrepute (Under Rule 1.6), and although they haven't been charged with administering performance enhancing drugs to their players, they have been charged with;
"Didn't adequately work to help sustain the health and welfare of it's players." (Fitzpatrick)
"It was experimental, inappropriate, inadequately vetted and controlled." (Fitzpatrick)
"Potential to have been administered substances prohibited by WADA." (Fitzpatrick)
"The most significant sanction in AFL history." (Demetriou) 

As you will all know by now, the charges are as follows;

  • $2,000,000 Fine
  • The Loss of Selections from the First 2 Rounds, with their first round pick being demoted till the last first round pick of the 2014 and 2015 Draft
  • Forfeit to play in the AFL Finals Series, given a final standing of 9th in Season 2013
  • James Hird suspended for 12 months, ban finishes before finals next year, can't get paid
  • Mark Thompson fined $30,000
  • Danny Corcoran suspended for 4 months

These are quite easily the heaviest charges ever laid by the AFL/VFL competition, with the fine of 2 million dollars not even in the same breath as the second most expensive $930,000 fine Carlton received for salary cap breaches. Essendon are in the most dire of circumstances, but given our knowledge and what may have occurred,  at this stage we can't accurately decide whether these charges are either fair or unreasonable. When all the findings come out, we'll have a better idea of whether we'd consider the consequences fair and reasonable, or otherwise. Nonetheless we can attempt to determine what these sanctions mean for the future of the Essendon Football Club. In other words, how many years has this side regressed due to these charges? 

Long Road back for Hird...

This will certainly hurt them for years to follow. It's simply not in question, simply look at the facts. Financially strong clubs are the sides that finish at the top of the table and challenge for premierships. In addition to the seven figure fine, another 2-3 million is expected to be paid to their lawyers, so immediately double that figure at the very least. No club at this stage in time has pockets that are that deep. Essendon will be in debt for at least this decade, with potentially longer consequences. Sponsorships will be lost, and memberships will plunge. Essendon will not be in a position to continue their upgrade of their Tullamarine facilities. When training facilities are behind the eight-ball, that is just the first of various potential financial reasons behind why we can no longer expect this side to push the premiership contenders. Don't bypass the financial issues as being a completely different field to on-field performances, because as I suggested before they're certainly interlinked. To add venom to this situation is that they're now the worst side from a financial point of view, even with the incompetent Demons in a much stronger position.

Losing draft picks is undeniably a shocking card to be dealt. Youth is an immeasurable quantity, and although they haven't been dealt the complete blow of losing them all together, less players of a high quality into the team certainly sets you back years on end. Once again using Carlton as an example, the Blues were a powerhouse of a club for many years till the loss of their draft picks. Eleven years on from then, Carlton still have never been able to push for a premiership and missed out on stars like Goddard due to these sanctions. Essendon certainly has the potential now to miss out on a star in the same ilk.

Demetriou, attempting to save the games dwindling reputation

They have forfeited their finals campaign, the first time this has ever happened in AFL/VFL History. In a somewhat strange change of events, the AFL has decided to not strip all their points, but simply give them the unenviable position of finishing ninth. Strange, but ultimately it is not the worst of the charges handed out. In all reality the Bombers wouldn't have pushed the premiership contenders this season, so this charge is the smallest of the lot. Nonetheless they now own the tag of losing a position which the wins suggest they deserve.

4 months for Corcoran...

Hird, Thompson and Corcoran all receive their penalties and although these had the potential to be another financial expenditure for the Bombers, news out from tonight suggests Hird won't get paid, and the other two sanctions are far from season defining. Hird will likely be back before finals, and early expectations are that Thompson will coach till James is back...

Thanks for reading the low-down on exactly what this means for the Bombers in the future! Good luck to all the fantasy folks who have a Grand Final to win this weekend!