AFL club presidents to meet on Bombers

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick has called a special meeting of club presidents for Thursday to brief them on the Essendon supplements crisis.

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Bombers’ coach James Hird says he has been denied natural justice after the AFL on Wednesday released details of charges laid against him.

Next Monday, the commission is supposed to hear the charges against Essendon, Hird, club doctor Bruce Reid, senior assistant coach Mark Thompson and Bombers football manager Danny Corcoran of bringing the league into disrepute.

But that hearing is now highly doubtful, meaning the Bombers go into the finals with the charges unresolved.

Hird and Essendon chairman Paul Little made it clear at a media conference on Wednesday afternoon that they will fight the AFL’s charges.

The AFL announced the charges last week, but on Wednesday released the much more comprehensive summary of the alleged offences.

“The AFL today continued its trial by media of me with the release of the charges against Essendon,” Hird said.

The Essendon coach also accused the AFL of a breach of due process by releasing a letter that club doctor Bruce Reid sent to him.

“The letter, released in isolation, is designed to damage my reputation,” Hird said.

Little said it was no coincidence the AFL released the charge details a day after a media report said the league had known since February that AOD-9604 was not a banned substance.

AOD-9604 is an anti-obesity drug that was administered to Essendon players, including captain Jobe Watson, during last year’s controversial supplements program at the club.

The status of the drug is one of the key issues of the AFL case and an ongoing investigation into Essendon by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

AFL medical expert Peter Larkins says he feels his friend Reid would be glad his letter has been released, which outlines Reid’s concerns over the use of some supplements.

“I believe he was happy that letter was made public because it clarified that he was not the bad guy behind this science program,” Larkins told 3AW on Wednesday night.

“There are other charges around Dr Bruce Reid’s involvement in this which he’s got to face and they haven’t been made public but I believe they may be made public tomorrow, which will be quite interesting to see the way the AFL is charging a doctor in that role.”

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