Essendon Football Club chairman Paul Little says the current court case shows the AFL team was caught up in much more than just an investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA).
On Wednesday, day three of an unprecedented court battle between ASADA and the football club, challenging show-cause notices brought on 34 Essendon players, the chairman of the Bombers broke his silence.
"It's given us even greater conviction that there was another game being played that we were not part of," he told ABC's 7.30 program.
"I think the court case has been very revealing around what really did happen and how this investigation was investigated.
"We've been accused perhaps of looking for a loophole - it's got nothing to do with that, we believe that we're entitled to have a lawful process and the judge will determine that."
In a story that should have been about sport, from the very beginning, it was very clearly also about politics.
On February 7 last year, Gillard government ministers called a press conference to announce what became known as "the blackest day in sport".
Then sports minister Kate Lundy and then justice minister Jason Clare summoned the heads of ASADA, the Australian Crime Commission and the major sporting codes to make the startling announcement of widespread and systemic use of supplements in Australia's two biggest football codes, the AFL and the NRL.
ASADA was charged with investigating whether any Essendon players took banned peptides.
But cross-examination of the doping authority's former chief executive Aurora Andruska in a Federal Court hearing this week has revealed that ASADA had two other organisations breathing down its neck: the AFL and the Commonwealth Government.
Richard Ings, the chief executive of ASADA preceding Ms Andruska, says that interference compromised the body's independence.
"One of the key reasons for ASADA being established was to be an independent statutory body," he told 7.30.
"Independent from the politicians, independent from the department and independent from sport.
"And it does appear that in the course of this particular investigation that independence has been crossed by one or more of those other parties."
Mr Little says it was important that ASADA's independence was maintained.
"There is a very well thought through constitution underpinning ASADA and their role and that constitution - because you're dealing with individual athletes, their reputations - needs to be adhered to," he said.Government bureaucrat attended ASADA, AFL discussion
The court heard that on May 24, ASADA met with former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou, and Ms Lundy and her media adviser.
The AFL was pressuring ASADA to deliver its interim report on the doping allegations to meet with its finals deadline - saying August was "completely unacceptable" and it needed something by "the end of July".
The court was also told Gillard government bureaucrat, Richard Eccles, went to meetings and sat in on a teleconference where ASADA and the AFL were discussing investigation tactics.
Notes of ASADA chief operating officer Trevor Burgess from a June meeting with Mr Eccles records Mr Eccles' recollection of a meeting with the AFL about what it intended to do:
AFL keeping pressure on ASADA to be bad guys...
(Essendon) player support staff - AFL will go them.
Coach (James Hird) - minimum six months or much longer.
Non-players will go down, ducks all lined up.
Mr Ings says that was abnormal and potentially a breach of the legislation governing ASADA.
"In my experience it would be incredibly unusual for someone outside the ASADA investigation to be involved in discussion in aspects of the investigation," he said.
"Indeed, persons outside of ASADA would not be classified as entrusted individuals under the ASADA act and would be unable to receive information details of the particular conducting of an investigation."Hird's position not untenable: Little
Suspended coach James Hird has also been the subject of intense scrutiny during the ASADA investigation.
He gave evidence he signed his deed of settlement with the AFL that saw him out of the game for 12 months under great threats, duress and inducements.
Mr Little on Wednesday denied that Hird's position had become untenable.
"His position is not untenable with me and I want to say that publicly," he said.
"He is contracted to coach the club, that's well understood.
"The current coach understands that James will be the coach and I can't imagine why he wouldn't be."
Mr Little also rejects arguments that Essendon's case against ASADA, which claims the joint AFL-ASADA investigation was unlawful, is just a delaying tactic - putting offside the footballing public.
"So to speed up the process we should be prepared to put up with what is potentially an unlawful process?" he asked.
"I just don't understand that and I don't think anyone would expect that.
"We are within our rights to understand if this process was conducted lawfully or not and that's what we're testing at the moment."