The appointment of former Essendon CEO Ian Robson to the vacant position at Melbourne Victory has raised plenty of eyebrows, but chairman Anthony Di Pietro is standing by the move
Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro has defended the decision to appoint Ian Robson as chief executive officer despite the ongoing ASADA investigation into the new man's former club Essendon.
Robson resigned from the top job at Australian Rules Football [AFL] powerhouse Essendon in May, taking responsibility for the 'pharmacologically experimental' environment which developed within the club's sports science department on his watch.
An extensive analysis by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority [ASADA] into the events which took place at Essendon, in which supplements not approved for human use, some with the potential to be deemed performance-enhancing and others banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA], are believed to have been administered to members of the playing and coaching staff.
Prior to the Essendon scandal and his resignation from the club, Robson was considered a highly respected and effective sports administrator, with a proven track record of orchestrating commercial and on-field success at the Hawthorn AFL club and elsewhere.
And while his arrival at A-League heavyweights Victory has raised eyebrows in many quarters, Di Pietro has stoutly defended the board's decision to call upon his expertise.
"With any appointment you have got to go through a thorough process," he told SEN.
"[We were] certainly not hesitant in the appointment. With any appointment you have got to do an enormous due diligence process."
When asked if the circumstances surrounding Robson's departure from Essendon meant more due diligence than usual went into deciding his appointment, Di Pietro said: "No not really.
"You have got to be thorough in all due diligence
"We engaged with the people that we felt we needed to engage with, we were very happy with the feedback we had and we have complete confidence in Ian."
Di Pietro said Robson had made no special reference to the irregular practices which are alleged to have taken place within Essendon's sports science department during the latter part of his stewardship at Windy Hill.
"We were comfortable with things we had discussed that related to our club and to Ian," he said.
"There were no disclosures that didn't involve us and that we were interested in.
"We were interested in Ian and what he has to offer and we were happy with the outcome."
Di Pietro also indicated Victory, relatively quiet in the off-season transfer market to date, may have some new faces in place before the glamour friendly against Liverpool at the MCG on July 24.
"[Head coach] Ange [Postecoglou] is working very hard with the team as we speak and we may even have a couple of new signings by then," he said.
"We have got a couple of spots that we are working on."