JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Essendon players can walk out: experts

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Hird launches Supreme Court action

James Hird issues a writ against the AFL in the Supreme Court claiming he has been denied natural justice, demanding chief executive Andrew Demetriou be banned from taking part in any hearing.

PT0M0S 620 349

Legal experts believe there is a strong case to say that Essendon's alleged failing in providing a safe workplace would allow the players to terminate their contracts - in effect, enabling even those under contract to leave the club if they wished to exercise that right.

Josh Bornstein, the deputy chair of Racing Victoria's appeals board and one the country's leading employment lawyers, said a case could be made that due to welfare, health and safety breaches, players could say their contract has been ''repudiated'', thereby allowing players to ''terminate'' the contract.

This view that Essendon might have repudiated the contracts by its treatment of players was shared by three other employment lawyers contacted by Fairfax Media. The AFL Players Association is also aware of this further legal novelty in the Essendon scandal - that players, if they wished, could seek to terminate contract and seek entry into the draft/trading system.

'The question is what the player wants to do about that breach.'

'The question is what the player wants to do about that breach.' Photo: Pat Scala

But rival clubs have also expressed concern about the prospect of players still being suspended for doping offences and there is also a view that those clubs would be reluctant to draft or trade for Essendon players, who might be suspended in the future - a situation that the Essendon, the AFLPA and the AFL have all wished to avoid from the outset of the scandal.

Most of Essendon's better players are under contract, and the club has been successful so far in avoiding any public breaking of the ranks from the playing group, albeit Triple M's breakfast show heard from a woman, ''Sarah'', who identified herself as a parent of an Essendon player and told host Eddie McGuire of her anger at the club for the way her son had been injected with substances and of the way it had handled the players and their parents.

Bornstein, a partner at Maurice Blackburn, said the repudiation of the contract would not require the players to have taken WADA banned substances, and it could be based upon the fact that the players had been either given ''harmful substances'' or if ''there is inadequate information about whether substance is harmful''.

''The question is what the player wants to do about that breach.''

Bornstein and other employment lawyers, who did to wish to be named, said there were common law provisions that applied to the players' contracts. There is also a clause in the AFL's standard player contract that states:

''The AFL club shall provide a playing, training and working environment which is, so far as is practicable, free of any risk to the health, safety and the welfare of the player. Without limitation, the AFL club shall observe and carry out its obligations under the applicable Occupational Health and Safety Act or its equivalent.''

Another leading employment lawyer said: ''I think it's probably a breach [of contract].'' He explained that AFL player contracts were different and more complicated, in that they were ''tripartite'' - involving the AFL as well as the club and the player.

Essendon announced the signature of Jake Melksham on Friday, the key midfielder signing a two-year contract extension deal to remain at Windy Hill until 2015.

"Essendon showed their faith in me when they provided me with the opportunity to play AFL football and I wanted to repay that faith by signing on for a further two years," Melksham said in a statement.
 
"This is a proud and strong football club. We have a great group of players, and I couldn’t be happier to remain a Bomber."

120 comments

  • Really simple. Sworn evidence from all players. Were you given substances into your body?
    Frequency and dates Substances legal or otherwise.
    Hird ultimate was "Performance".
    So was an advantage made over other teams and players?
    I believe YES!
    Therefore ESSENDON club and those in control have brought the game into disrepute.

    That simple...

    Penalty: Remove Hird and remove all the clubs points. No more sanctions needed.

    They can start afresh 2014 and with how many players are left to commit to a new era.

    Commenter
    Robbie-Editor-The Homemaker Reporter
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    August 23, 2013, 7:38AM
    • No way penalty includes loss of match points in 2014. Loss of draft picks for three years. These charges are worse than Carlton's in 2002. At least Carlton took their medicine.

      Commenter
      kirt
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 8:07AM
    • If you are going to look it at like that then technically Gatorade is performance enhancing. The fact wether substances were given is not the problem as none of them have been indentified as illegal....thus far...

      The problem is that they did not govern and adminstered it properly.

      As an essendon fan i agree that punishment is needed BUT 80% of the charges laid down by the AFl are a joke. Missing out on this years Finals and a 6 figure fine would suit.

      Commenter
      JordanS88
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 8:11AM
    • Thymosin beta 4. Says it all
      AGO9604 says it all
      Unknown Mexican substance says it all
      Dr Reid letter says it all
      Hird warned to stay away from Peptides and ignores warning says it all

      Penalty
      Removed from finals 2013
      Loss of all match points 2014
      Loss of all draft picks 2013, 2014 perhaps 2015
      3 million dollar fine
      Hird 5 year ban minimum.
      Corporal 5 year ban minimum
      Thompson 1 year ban
      Dr Reid 8 weeks.

      Players if found guilty 2 years.
      Jobs Watson returns Brownlow.

      This must never be allowed to happen again

      Demetriou sacked for insufficient drug testing and education of players to stay away from all drugs.

      Commenter
      Dale Burns
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 8:31AM
    • Good in theory but all they can say is they were given injections (perhaps) and they can't say what the substances were - that takes it nowhere from a legal perspective. The AFL needs to introduce rules of: 1. no injections; 2. any substances given to players also have to be submitted to the AFL for possible future testing or analysis. The AFL has really failed on this and their brand is damaged.

      Commenter
      the_Truth
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 9:03AM
    • Good in theory but all they can say is they were given injections (perhaps) and they can't say what the substances were - that takes it nowhere from a legal perspective. The AFL needs to introduce rules of: 1. no injections; 2. any substances given to players also have to be submitted to the AFL for possible future testing or analysis. The AFL has really failed on this and their brand is damaged.

      Commenter
      the_Truth
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 9:03AM
    • Can someone explain - if EFC players are guilty of anti-doping rule violations, why has the independent statutory with the legal power to address this failed to issue infraction notices to any players? Could it be that there is insufficient cold hard factual evidence? Or should we be worried about a cover up?

      Also, if EFC players that took these substances over 12 months ago were harmed then why - as far as we are aware - are none of them showing signs of illness, nor suing the club, nor indicating that they intend to leave the club? Once again, because it's not true, or because it's just another cover up?

      Speculation about what MIGHT happen in the future, is not the same as the reality that exists here and now.

      Commenter
      reality check
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 9:09AM
    • In all this debate over penalties people seem to be having, the idea that James Hird could have anything less than a lifetime ban is the most ridiculous. Look at what he's responsible for causing. How could you imagine someone that has done this back in the AFL in 12 months, 5 years, 10 years or ever? Hird needs to go for life and never be mentioned again.

      Commenter
      Nick
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 9:12AM
    • Dale Burns, you inadvertently nailed it with your comment "AGO9604 says it all". :) :) It really does, mate, it really does. After all, you don't do heavy metal in dubly, do you? I was chatting with someone last night who said Hird should be stood down. My question to him was "what did you think of Dr Garnham's comments?" and his response was "who is Dr Garnham?".

      Commenter
      Laki
      Location
      Windy Hill
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 9:28AM
    • Its not only the Essendon players that are able to walk out on contacts..lawyers can too!

      Commenter
      pay up Josh
      Location
      a place near you
      Date and time
      August 23, 2013, 9:33AM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Hird launches Supreme Court action (Thumbnail) Hird launches Supreme Court action

James Hird issues a writ against the AFL in the Supreme Court claiming he has been denied natural justice, demanding chief executive Andrew Demetriou be banned from taking part in any hearing.

James Hird launches Supreme Court action against AFL and Andrew Demetriou

James Hird has issued a writ against the AFL in the Supreme Court claiming he has been denied natural justice and demanding chief executive Andrew Demetriou be banned from taking part in any hearing into his involvement in Essendon's supplements program.

Clubs back AFL in row with Bombers

The league's 17 other clubs have lined up behind the AFL in its dispute with Essendon, calling on the Bombers to avoid fighting its bitter legal battle with the league in the courts.

Top law firm in talks with Dons player

One of Melbourne's top compensation law firms is believed to be in talks with an Essendon player over the supplements scandal.

AFL presidents back league's stance on Essendon

The AFL's 17 other clubs have called on Essendon to avoid fighting its bitter battle with the league in the courts, and have offered their unanimous confidence in the AFL's handing of the dispute.

Demetriou: there was no tip-off

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has again insisted he could not have tipped Essendon off that they were under a crime investigation.

AFLPA concerned for players' health

AFL Players Association chief Matt Finnis says Essendon players would require long-term monitoring of their health after growing uncertainty about the impact the Bombers' controversial supplement injection program may have on their lives.

Dons simply amazing... for 16 games

To have been able to perform at the level they did is extraordinary.

Related Coverage

2014 Home and Away

Round 1
Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
COL 46 vs FRE 116 Report Stats
Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
GWS 99 vs SYD 67 Report Report Stats
GCF 87 vs RIC 69 Report Stats
Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
Thu, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE 119 vs ADE 81 Report Stats
Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NTH 60 vs ESS 99 Report Stats
Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
HAW 139 vs BRI 91 Stats
STK 68 vs MEL 51 Report Stats
Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
WCE 134 vs WBU 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Thu, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC 98 vs CAR 86 Report Stats
Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
ESS 86 vs HAW 90 Report Stats
Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
PTA 127 vs ADE 73 Report Stats
FRE 87 vs GCF 39 Report Stats
SYD 69 vs COL 89 Report Stats
Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 68 vs GEE 93 Stats
MEL 30 vs WCE 123 Report Stats
WBU 54 vs NTH 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
HAW 137 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
WBU 100 vs RIC 98 Report Stats
ADE 71 vs SYD 134 Report Stats
GCF 114 vs BRI 61 Stats
WCE 83 vs STK 58 Report Stats
COL 76 vs GEE 87 Report Stats
Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS 79 vs MEL 47 Report Stats
NTH 97 vs PTA 90 Report Stats
ESS 138 vs CAR 57 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 72 vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
PTA 159 vs BRI 46 Report Stats
GWS 83 vs WBU 110 Report Stats
GEE 107 vs WCE 32 Report Stats
GCF 49 vs HAW 148 Report Stats
Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 48 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
STK 50 vs ADE 136 Report Stats
FRE 113 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Thu, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 93 vs NTH 58 Report Stats
SYD 92 vs FRE 75 Report Stats
WCE 56 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
ESS 65 vs STK 81 Report Stats
Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE 137 vs GWS 72 Report Stats
MEL 78 vs GCF 86 Report Stats
WBU 91 vs CAR 119 Report Stats
Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 106 vs HAW 87 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
CAR 92 vs WCE 89 Report Stats
MEL 38 vs SYD 69 Report Stats
Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
RIC 52 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
PTA 107 vs GEE 67 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
Sat, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
ESS 73 vs WBU 65 Report Stats
Sun, 04 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 77 vs GCF 120 Report Stats
GEE 81 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
WCE 54 vs FRE 73 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 107 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
PTA 94 vs FRE 76 Report Stats
BRI 57 vs ESS 65 Report Stats
MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 69 vs CAR 101 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 74 vs MEL 91 Report Stats
NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
FRE 96 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
CAR 81 vs ADE 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Thu, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 109 vs GCF 77 Report Stats
WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
WCE 44 vs NTH 82 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 28 vs COL 61 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 85 vs FRE 105 Report Stats
SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 133 vs STK 37 Report Stats
COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs SYD 62 Report Stats
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
STK 70 vs WCE 103 Report Stats
MEL 66 vs NTH 107 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
SYD 122 vs CAR 51 Report Stats
Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
WCE 42 vs RIC 59 Report Stats
Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 110 vs GCF 56 Report Stats
HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 82 vs ADE 98 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE 83 vs CAR 78 Report Stats
Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
RIC 89 vs GWS 62 Report Stats
GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 51 vs BRI 74 Stats
HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
GEE 81 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
WCE 126 vs COL 66 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 127 vs STK 56 Stats
GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
ADE 69 vs RIC 79 Report Stats
Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
HAW 94 vs GEE 71 Report Stats
Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
GCF 99 vs WCE 151 Stats
ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Finals Round 1
Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 93 vs FRE 69 Stats
NTH 93 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Finals Round 2
Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 83 vs PTA 105 Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Finals Round 3
Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 136 vs NTH 65 Report Stats
Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 97 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Finals Round 4
Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 74 vs HAW 137 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL Home and Away
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
View all
 
Featured advertisers