Ziggy Switkowski. Photo: Josh Robenstone
Essendon chairman David Evans has announced a "full external and independent review of governance and processes of the club" in the wake of the club's recent drugs crisis.
The review will be conducted by former Telstra chief Ziggy Switkowski, and comes while the club is investigated by the AFL and ASADA.
In an official statement, Evans explained the reasons for the review.
Essendon chairman David Evans. Photo: Joe Armao
"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."
However, Evans, speaking at Windy Hill on Wednesday morning, would not elaborate on what those "irregular practices" were.
"That’s difficult for me to do right now because there is an investigation going on, which I do not want to compromise the integrity of that investigation, nor do I want it to compromise the review that I have just announced, so that is something I would prefer not to talk about.
"I am not making any assumptions at all. I am just saying there are practices there that I as chairman of the club would probably not like to see at our club, therefore three weeks ago is why we did what we did.
"We just want to get to the heart of what happened."
"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 satement read.
The club reported itself to the game's governing body after it became aware of allegations of performance-enhancing drug use directed against its players.
"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," Evans said.
Dr Switkowski, Chancellor of RMIT University, has an honours degree in science and a PhD in nuclear physics.
He will be assisted by 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.
Evans said he could not confirm a timeline but expected it to be completed before ASADA completes its investigation, likely to be mid-season.
"This is not about individuals, it’s about processes and procedures, supervision, that we need to get to the bottom of, where they let us down to get to the position where we are today," he said.
Evans said he would not discuss the impact this could have on personnel, including whether any lost their jobs.
"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.
"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."
Evans said he was "proud" of how the players had handled the controversy.
"The players have been wonderful, the courage they came out and played with a few weeks ago was terrific," he said.
At the conclusion of the club statement, Evans implored Essendon fans to get behind the players this season.
- with Will Brodie