Former WADA president John Fahey has rubbished the logic behind the possibility of some of the "Essendon 34" appealing their doping bans, insisting that the ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport was "eminently correct".
Lawyers for the AFL Players Association, representing 32 of the 34 players banned for a year for a doping offence, continue to weigh up their options, including the possibility of appealing the CAS ruling through the NSW Supreme Court
Western Bulldogs president and lawyer Peter Gordon has also contacted Swiss lawyers about appealing the decision on behalf of the two players now at the Dogs – AFL player Stewart Crameri and VFL player and development coach Brent Prismall – who have been represented by Gordon's son, Patrick, since they went to the club.
Gordon believes the players have "three" grounds on which to appeal and said on ABC radio last week that he feared history would show that the Essendon 34 were victims of "one of the most grave injustices in the history of Australian sport".
However Fahey, a former NSW premier, was just as emphatic in backing the CAS ruling.
"I thought it was an extraordinarily clear and convincing judgment," Fahey said SEN on Monday.
"I have read many, many CAS judgments. I don't know how many Mr Gordon has read to be familiar with, for instance, the standard of proof, which is to the comfortable satisfaction of the tribunal, which is different to criminal and civil courts.
"It (the judgment) is very logical and I can't imagine anyone who read that judgment, whether they are a lawyer or not, coming to a different conclusion to the one the tribunal itself came to.
"OK, there are consequences, but are we prepared to put up with cheats?"
Fahey said he could not see how the players could achieve a different outcome on appeal.
Specifically, he said the players would not be able to prove they were duped into taking the substances injected into their bodies for they had signed "statutory declarations" which had effectively backed them into a legal corner.
"The 34 players knew what they were doing," he said.
"They actually signed a statutory declaration – they took an oath which carries a criminal penalty for failure.
"In fact, we had a NSW former federal court judge who did two-and-a-half years' jail for signing a false statutory declaration. They are the consequences of taking an oath.
"They signed declarations, so they can't say they didn't know they were doing something.
"And surely they didn't think they were doing that to whiten their teeth – getting all those injections."
Fairfax Media's Jon Pierik reported on Friday that Gordon was inquiring about the possibility of seeking an interim injunction which would allow Crameri and, potentially, the 16 other players still in the AFL system – including 12 at Essendon – to play this season while awaiting an appeal before the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
It was reported that lawyers believe papers for a Swiss appeal would have to be lodged by February 10, but the appeal itself would almost certainly not be heard until after the home-and-away season.
Fahey admitted the circumstances that surrounded the investigation of the Essendon 34 were "extraordinarily different", but that did not change the validity of the CAS ruling.
However he reiterated his disappointment at the damage caused to due process by the controversial media conference held on February 8, 2013 to announce the findings of a 12-month investigation by the Australian Crime Commission – the so called "blackest day in Australian Sport".
"This is the first time to my knowledge that people have gone public – in this case. It was the Australian Crime Commission and ministers and the former government who went public and said, 'We've got a problem, this has been going on, and now it's up to ASADA to investigate'," Fahey said.
"Everybody was behind the eight ball from day one, in my view. It was very unfair to ASADA and very unfair to the players to be under the spotlight before there was any evidence available in the public arena.
"ASADA, in those circumstances, then had to start the investigation. All of the players and officials and others had been tipped off – it was very, very difficult circumstances and I hope it never ever happens again.
"In almost every other case that I am aware of, it has been a situation where the investigation has taken place, information is available, confidentiality has been respected and results have been announced – not the fact that we are about to start an inquiry."