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ASADA says 'duped' Essendon players could receive substantial discounts on penalties

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How Essendon's show-cause notices will work

ASADA's CEO Ben McDevitt explains what the show-cause notices mean and how Essendon players could see a reduction to the maximum penalty of a two-year playing ban.

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Ben McDevitt says Essendon players have a case to answer.

Ben McDevitt says Essendon players have a case to answer.

Any Essendon players found guilty of breaching anti-doping laws but are determined to have not had sufficient knowledge about what they were taking could have 75 per cent of the maximum penalty slashed.

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority chief executive Ben McDevitt told 3AW on Friday that if any of the 34 past and present Essendon players caught up in the investigation weren’t aware of what they were taking they could face a minimum ban of one year, as opposed to the maximum of two years.

He said if players “provided substantial assistance”, including making a  full admissions, there was an option of a further six months being slashed off their penalty.

The players were served with show-cause notices late on Thursday.

The AFL tribunal would be ultimately in charge of applying any sanctions to Essendon players if they are found guilty over the use of a banned substance, McDevitt said.

Players have 10 days to respond to the show-cause notice and if any cases go further, an independent panel will determine whether there has been a violation or not. If guilt is established, then the AFL tribunal will be responsible for handing out any penalties.

ASADA officials notified the players that they had a case to answer over the use of the peptide Thymosin Beta 4 during the 2012 season. The notices are allegations and are not determinations of guilt.

Players are reportedly in shock following the latest development in the 16-month probe. The club has refused to comment publicly and has hired security for its Tullamarine headquarters.

McDevitt said the show-cause notice was the first step and simply meant that “it’s the first step”.

“What it basically means is I have formed a view in my mind that an individual athlete has a case to answer in relation to a possible violation of Australia’s anti-doping code,” he said.

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