Essendon have expressed frustration that the interim nature of the ASADA report into the AFL club means the Bombers don’t know when their pain will end.
AFL officials are reviewing the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s 400-page findings handed to them last Friday.
The league hopes to determine any sanctions against Essendon before the finals.
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou on Wednesday described as “offensive” the suggestion by Essendon great Tim Watson that the AFL had already decided to punish the Bombers.
But new Bombers chairman Paul Little said the fact that ASADA’s evidence had been compiled only into an interim report and the investigation remained ongoing meant that the end was not necessarily in sight.
“From our point of view part of the frustration that is now brought to the table with the interim nature of the report is that we don’t know what other work is required, how long that may take and of course the pain goes on for the club,” Little said.
His comment came in an excerpt from an interview to air on Fox Footy’s The Hangar program on Wednesday night.
The saga has already claimed the Bombers’ former chief executive Ian Robson and chairman David Evans.
And assistant coach Mark Thompson gave another glimpse on Monday night into the toll it’s taking, admitting it had caused internal fighting and had distracted players leading into Sunday’s big loss to Collingwood.
The Bombers received the report on Sunday.
Demetriou returned from the United States on Wednesday and immediately hit out at Watson, father of Bombers captain Jobe, for claiming the AFL had been conditioning the public to expect the club to be stripped of premiership points.
“To suggest that the AFL commission would somehow predetermine an outcome is just offensive and it’s completely wrong,” Demetriou told reporters.
The AFL boss said the league’s general counsel Andrew Dillon would guide the commission through their response to ASADA’s findings.
The commission is scheduled to meet next Monday. Demetriou wouldn’t say whether they might gather earlier to speed up the decision-making process.
He was unsure whether they would reach a resolution before finals begin on September 6.
“We’re hoping (to) with the best intent,” he said.
“I think it would be appropriate if we could, but if we can’t it will be what it will be.”
Fairfax newspapers reported on Wednesday that the ASADA report contains circumstantial evidence that some Essendon players were given banned substances AOD9604 and Thymosin Beta 4 last year under the direction of the club’s former sports scientist Stephen Dank.
But the Bombers’ failure to keep proper records of which players were given particular substances could make it hard to sanction individual players, as opposed to sanctioning the club or its officials, it was reported.
Dank on Wednesday repeated his denials that players took any banned substances during his time at the club.