Hird fronts drugs investigators

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 16 April 2013 | 12.50

Mark Thompson has spoken of the strain James Hird is under as the Essendon coach faces an ASADA investigation.

Essendon coach James Hird could be banned by the AFL if found guilty using a banned substance. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: PerthNow

ESSENDON coach James Hird has reaffirmed his determination to clear his name ahead of interviews with drugs investigators today.

Hird left his Toorak home this morning, dressed in a suit and Bombers tie, saying he was looking forward to meeting Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) officers.

"I'm just looking forward to having my say," he said.

Asked if he was confident he could clear his name, Hird said: "Yes mate."

Hird will not be under oath when he faces drugs investigators for the first time today.

But he nevertheless would face tough penalties if found not to have told the truth.

ASADA officers are probing claims that players received banned intravenous injections - one of several concerns raised about the club's sports science regimen last year.

Sports scientist Stephen Dank has said that during his time at Essendon he injected Hird with the performance-enhancing drug Hexarelin, which is banned for players.

The AFL Anti-Doping Code demands players and coaches must:

FULLY co-operate with any investigation.

FULLY and truthfully answer all questions.

PROVIDE documents if requested.

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Players and coaches who fail to do this face a minimum $10,000 fine. If a breach of this section is referred to the AFL Tribunal by the league, there is no limit on the sanction that can be applied.

The code prohibits coaches from supplying and administering performance-enhancing drugs, but not from taking them.

The AFL can sanction anyone it believes has brought the game into disrepute.

Evidence gathered by ASADA would ultimately come before the AFL Tribunal if the agency found players or officials had a case to answer.

Former ASADA chief Richard Ings said: "In the infraction notice (from the AFL), it will say ASADA has told the AFL that you have a case to answer for breaching these provisions of the anti-doping rules; the penalty for this breach is a ban, or whatever -- two years, say; you have an opportunity now to either accept the ban, or to request a hearing before the AFL anti-doping panel.

"The hearing, the tribunal, is held by the AFL.

"ASADA would be the counsel prosecuting the case, because they've got the evidence, and the player and his attorney would be the defence."

Hird is expected to be accompanied by a lawyer, or lawyers, today.

Under common ASADA practices:

THE interview would be conducted by two ASADA officials.

AN investigator from the AFL's integrity office could attend and ask questions.

THE interview would be recorded.

Hird is not bound by privacy laws and can share anything from the interview.

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