Twelve more AFL clubs have been summoned to appear before the Court of Arbitration for Sport following fresh allegations from Fairfax columnist Caroline Wilson.
The new proceedings come in the wake of changes to the evidence provisions of the WADA code, under which an accusation from two or more print, radio, or online journalists now constitutes conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. This reverses the earlier position, under which a charge of wrongdoing had to be substantiated.
The changes came into force in early 2013, but were not announced publicly until 12 January 2016.
Among the clubs involved:
- Hawthorn will be required to prove that every single Suisse multivitamin ingested by a past or present player was in fact a Suisse multivitamin and not a performance enhancing substance (or in the case of Lance Franklin, cocaine).
- Melbourne will be required to prove that every single player, coach, and football administrator was giving 110% in every game, training session, and pre-season bootcamp since the grand final defeat of 2000.
- St Kilda and Fremantle will be required to prove that Ross Lyon’s game plan is not boring.
- Fremantle will also be required to prove that the decision to play Zac Dawson in the senior team did not constitute tanking.
The cases are expected to be heard by the start of the 2024 season, with a decision to be announced around the turn of the century. While no one is blaming the players involved, they are still likely to bear the brunt of any sanctions imposed.
Regardless of the outcome, all clubs will be fined $1 million for allowing the media to stir up a controversy.