In the latest blow to the Essendon Football Club, the Bombers have been fined $200,000 for breaching workplace safety laws over the way the club implemented its controversial 2012 supplements program.
In November, Essendon pleaded guilty to two charges laid by WorkSafe Victoria of failing to provide a working environment that was safe and without risks to health.
Following a comprehensive investigation conducted by WorkSafe, the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday morning convicted the club of the two charges and fined it $200,000.
The latest penalty to the beleaguered club follows a decision by the Court for Arbitration of Sport in early January, which found 34 past and present players guilty of doping and which banned them from participating in the 2016 season.
Court documents stated that “there was a risk that Essendon players might be given substances in a manner that could be harmful to their health".
The documents went on to detail how the club failed to adhere to a system whereby a club doctor would advise on clinical outcomes, including potential positive and negative effects of substances.
“Between December 2011 and 15 January 2012... Essendon players were exposed to risks to their health and safety by [the club's] failure to provide and maintain the system of work described.”
Essendon had argued for a lesser penalty in the range of $20k to $40k. There is speculation within the AFL community that the next round of legal action in the supplements saga could be a civil action by the 34 banned players.
The website lawyersweekly.com.au said that the players may decide to sue their employer, Essendon, for breach of employer duties that are owed to their employees.