Two major sporting codes and two major stuff-ups

Date: March 18, 2015 / Posted by Glenn Mitchell
Fremantle's Ryan Crowley

Fremantle’s Ryan Crowley

The major sporting codes in this country are always trying to outdo each other.

This week two of them simply imitated each other with respect to mind-blowing ineptitude.

Both the AFL and Cricket Australia have certainly failed to cover themselves in glory.

And from what we know both could have easily avoided the embarrassment that has beset them.

Let’s start with the AFL.

The Fremantle Football Club’s CEO and president, along with its 2012 club champion, Ryan Crowley faced the media yesterday to explain that the latter had returned a positive result to a game day drug test last July.

The club stressed that it would stand by its man who is awaiting a tribunal date.

It went onto explain that to its knowledge the drug in question was contained in a painkiller that Crowley chose to use without consulting with any of the club’s medical staff as is mandated by the club.

In these days and times Crowley’s actions border on straight out stupidity given the amount of education that elite level athletes have drummed into them.

However, in the end, Crowley’s fate will be determined by the AFL Tribunal which at some point may feel the need to sit and hear the matter.

Following the Fremantle media conference the AFL released a timeline that mapped out the procedural matters to date with respect to the case. It read like this:

  • Sample collection 13 July
  • A Test result 11 August
  • Player told of A Test result 18 August
  • B Test result 11 September
  • Show Cause Notice issued 18 September
  • Provisional ban commenced 25 September

It took around ten weeks from the time the test was undertaken until the provisional ban was handed down.

We are now in the 25th week since that suspension took effect and according to the Dockers they are hopeful of a tribunal hearing in the next few weeks.

Well that’s nice isn’t it?

This delay sits wholly and solely with the AFL as ASADA’s role – with the exception of providing evidence at the tribunal – ended in September last year.

The League has annual revenue in an excess of $450m – it is big business as it keeps telling us.

Yet, for some reason it has not been able to set up a tribunal hearing to hear one player’s case.

Yes, we know the Essendon saga has seemingly run longer than Neighbours and it has occupied the time of many at AFL HQ but surely a six-month wait for a fair hearing for Crowley is nothing but ludicrous.

We now wait with baited breath to see just when the AFL will deign it necessary to convene a hearing.

And now to Cricket Australia.

The final round of Sheffield Shield fixtures concluded yesterday resulting in Victoria earning the right to host the final against Western Australia.

Unfortunately the MCG is off limits because of the World Cup Final and the second choice Melbourne venue, the Junction Oval, is deemed to be not at the necessary standard to host a first-class fixture.

One would have thought that the matter from there was a simple one to sort out as the situation is clearly set out in the competition’s 2014-15 Playing Conditions:

“The team that finished first on the points table at the conclusion of the preliminary matches shall earn the right to host the final at a suitable first class venue within its state, provided that this venue is acceptable to Cricket Australia. Should the team waive this right, the choice shall be offered to the team that finished second. Otherwise the decision shall be made by Cricket Australia.”

Pretty straight forward?

The WACA was awaiting a phone call to offer it the hosting rights but it never came.

It has instead been told that the domestic showcase will be staged at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.

Not surprisingly the Warriors and their management are up in arms.

Put simply, CA has simply uprooted the goalposts and moved them quite a distance.

Surely the whole point of penning the season’s playing conditions in the first place was to set out plainly and openly the way the competition would be run.

Obviously not.

Two sports and two stuff-ups.

In nature, the issues at hand may be apples and oranges, but in reality neither should have been able to reach the stage they have.

Supporters should expect – and receive – better.

First published on The Roar – theroar.com.au – on 17 March 2015