Today, the Chairman of the Essendon Football Club, Mr David Evans, announced that the Board had signed off on a full external and independent review of governance and processes of the club.
In announcing the Review, Mr. Evans said:
“Three weeks ago, I asked for the AFL and ASADA’s assistance in reviewing the 2012 supplements program of the Essendon Football Club.
Since then, the principal concern of the Board has been to put the interests and welfare of our players first, and to do this we must ensure continued cooperation with the ASADA and AFL investigation.
While that investigation continues, I have asked our members and the public to remember that no player has tested positive for any performance enhancing substance, and it is very important for all of us to await the results of ASADA’s work.
I have been very heartened by the levels of support from members and the industry during the last three weeks. It has been overwhelmingly positive.
However, with that support comes responsibility.
The Board and I are now aware of irregular practices by the club that are being investigated by ASADA and the AFL, and that is why we have decided to call an independent and external review into the governance and processes that have led to us being in the position we are today.
In announcing this review, I want to make sure that we are able to give answers to our members about what happened and why, and to put in place any changes needed to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
The Board has appointed Dr. Ziggy Switkowski to lead this review.
Dr Switkowski is the former CEO of Telstra and Chair of the Australian NuclearScience and Technology Organisation. He is presently the Chancellor of RMIT, Chairman of Suncorp, a member of the Board of Directors of the Business Council of Australia, and Chair of Opera Australia.
The review will also draw the expert assistance of Dr. Andrew Garnham, Specialist Sports and Exercise Physician and Clinical Senior Lecturer at the School of Exercise and Nutrition Science, and Medicine, Faculty of Health, Deakin University.
The review will start with the governance of our club, from the Board level down. The review will also investigate practices in other clubs and other sports, to measure our actions and processes against best practice.
Dr. Switkowski will be given all the resources he needs to conduct this review, and the Board will expect a report and recommendations.
We cannot commit to a firm timeline. We expect it to be completed before the ASADA investigation.
The report will be sent to the AFL Commission and to ASADA, and I expect that the recommendations will be made public.
Our members deserve to know what happened, and to have faith that we will take responsibility to fix any problems.
The Essendon Football Club does not belong to any one person, to any one era, to any one success. Those of us who hold positions in our club must strive to hand the club over to the next generation in a better state than we inherited it.
I ask the members and our fans for your continued support, and in particular urge you to get behind our players and your team in 2013.