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Statement - Paul Little

BTV: AFL Tribunal Decision - Little & Hird media conference EFC Chairman Paul Little, and Head Coach James Hird speak to the media following the announcement of the AFL Tribunal's decision.

We welcome today’s tribunal ruling and we hope it brings closure to our players and their families.

It has been an extremely difficult and stressful time for everyone involved, particularly our playing group.

While the Club is pleased with today’s verdict, and hope it signals that these matters are now behind all of us, most importantly, we want to reiterate that we will never shirk our responsibility for the events of 2012.

A number of times over the past two years, I have expressed the Essendon Football Club’s sincere regret for the 2012 supplements program and the uncertainly and stress it has caused for all our staff and players at the Club.  I reiterate those sentiments today.

We have learned many lessons and we are also confident that the actions taken by the Club will ensure our players can never be put in this position again.

The Club has implemented a number of significant reforms and governance measures, including a comprehensive review of our football department.

Additionally we have conducted a broad review of our entire business operation.  The result of these two reviews, and the necessary changes made, are published on our website.

Importantly, our focus on sound governance for the good of our players will have no finish line and will be continually reviewed.

To our sponsors, members, supporters and volunteers. Thank you for your unwavering support and your incredible loyalty. You have stood with us and given us great strength during one of the most difficult periods in our history.  And for that we will be forever grateful.

And to our players - you are without doubt an amazing group of young men.

Week in week out, you have continued to perform under the most difficult circumstances and made us proud.

You have a special bond and no one deserves success more than you do.

There is a great sense of excitement about the future of our Club. We have incredible staff, a talented list, a great coach, in James Hird and a loyal and passionate supporter base.

At Essendon ‘Our Fabric’ is strong.

Our vision is to be the most successful, respected and inclusive sporting organisation in Australia sport – the Club of choice that consistently sets the benchmark on and off the field.

As we sit here today, we recognise that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us.

It’s time to make our people proud and for the Essendon faithful to again be proud to don the sash’; for kids to stand up in their classroom and proclaim: “I barrack for Essendon”.

For today marks the start of the return for our proud Club.