Essendon chairman David Evans announced the board had signed off on a full external review of the club's governance and processes, which comes as the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) continues to investigate the Bombers for possible illegal performance-enhancing drug use over their supplement program last season.
The review will be headed by former Telstra chief executive Dr Ziggy Switkowski and Evans said it would help the club to give answers to members and fans.
"The Board and I are now aware of irregular practices by the club that are being investigated by ASADA and the AFL," Evans said in a statement.
"That is why we have decided to call an independent and external review into the governance and processes that have led to us being in the position we are today.
"In announcing this review, I want to make sure that we are able to give answers to our members about what happened and why, and to put in place any changes needed to ensure that this doesn't happen again.
"Three weeks ago, I asked for the AFL and ASADA's assistance in reviewing the 2012 supplements program of the Essendon Football Club.
"Since then, the principle concern of the board has been to put the interests and welfare of our players first, and to do this we must ensure continued cooperation with the ASADA and AFL investigation."
Dr Switkowski is currently the Chancellor of RMIT, Chairman of Suncorp, a board member of the Business Council of Australia, and Chair of Opera Australia.
The review will also draw on expert assistance of Dr Andrew Garnham, a specialist sports and exercise physician and senior lecturer at Deakin University.
The Bombers say the review will start with the governance of the club, from board level down.
"The review will also investigate practices in other clubs and other sports, to measure our actions and processes against best practice," Evans said.
"Dr Switkowski will be given all the resources he needs to conduct this review, and the board will expect a report and recommendations.
"We cannot commit to a firm timeline.
"We expect it to be completed before the ASADA investigation."
Evans said when finalised, the report would be sent to the AFL Commission and ASADA, and he expected it to be made public.
"Our members deserve to know what happened, and to have faith that we will take responsibility to fix any problems," Evans said.