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Release of Essendon report delayed

Callum Twomey, Harry Thring and Matt Thompson  May 1, 2013 10:15 AM

A legal issue has arisen at the last minute, and the club is not able to proceed until this is sorted out
ESSENDON has confirmed a legal issue has delayed the release of Dr Ziggy Switkowski's external report into the club's governance last season.

The club commissioned Switkowski, the former Telstra chief executive, in February to conduct an independent review of the club's "irregular practices."

It was originally expected to be released on Wednesday.

Despite the hold-up, the club said in a statement it hoped to release the findings of the report "as soon as possible".

"Essendon Football Club can confirm the recommendations and a summary of the external and independent review of governance and practices from Dr Ziggy Switkowski was due for public release this week," the club statement said.

"However, a legal issue has arisen at the last minute, and the club is not able to proceed until this is sorted out.

"The club cannot discuss the report until the recommendations are made public, which we look forward to doing as soon as possible."

Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that a legal threat from suspended high performance coach Dean Robinson was the cause of the delay.

The AFL was briefed earlier this week of the report.

"We have seen it, we received a briefing and were handed a copy of the report on Monday," AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said on Wednesday.

"Essendon intend making the executive summary and the recommendations public early next week, I imagine. They were due to do it today but there has been a slight legal hitch which I don't think is every significant.

"We are privy to what is in the report, but we will allow Essendon to go through their announcement because they commissioned the report."

Demetriou cautioned against the public jumping to conclusions about the Bombers while ASADA's investigation into the club's supplement use in 2012 continues.

"We need to await the outcome of the ASADA report," he said.

"I know that is frustrating to people, but they haven't even commenced interviewing players yet.

"They will start that process, as I understand, in the next week or so; they are currently finishing interviews with coaches and other officials.

"And none of that has been made public. So I do think people should be very careful about some of the commentary, particularly in light of the fact that we haven't even had one player interviewed as yet."

Australian Federal Police are yet to receive a complaint from Essendon over the legitimacy of a letter purporting to show WADA approval for banned drug AOD-9604.

It has been alleged that sports scientist Stephen Dank showed a letter to the Bombers confirming the drug was a legal substance.

"To date, the AFP has not received a referral from the Essendon Football Club," an AFP spokesperson told AFL.com.au.

"Should a referral be received, the AFP will consider the matter in accordance with normal process."

Dank's legal team has refused to address a News Limited report that said Essendon would call in federal police over the letter.

It has been suggested Essendon doesn't have a copy of the letter and that Dank could be in possession of the only copy.  

"In the face of no allegation made by any relevant prosecuting or investigatory authority, we have nothing to say," Dank's lawyer Greg Stanton told AFL.com.au.

"At this point in time there's no relevant allegation against my client and accordingly we've got nothing to say," he said.  

Stanton said there was no guarantee Dank would make any further public comments.  

"I'm not going to commit my client to any possibility until we see what actually occurs."