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ASADA show-cause notices for Dons
Essendon Football Club issued with 34 show-cause notices following a 16-month drugs probe by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority. Nine News.
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority CEO Ben McDevitt has confirmed the issuing of 34 show cause notices to past and present Essendon players charged with breaching drug rules.
ASADA released a statement on Friday morning regarding the move to issue notices “based on a considerable body of evidence” collected over the past 16 months about Essendon’s 2012 supplements program.
“Based on the advice of our legal counsel and a review of the evidence by the Hon. Garry Downes, I have reached the conclusion that these players have a case to answer under the World Anti-Doping Code,” McDevitt said in the statement.
“When I have reached a conclusion that a possible violation has occurred, it is incumbent on me under legislation to put formal allegations to athletes and invite them to respond.”
Fairfax Media has established that the use of prohibited peptide thymosin Beta 4 is queried in the show cause notices.
It remains unclear whether show cause notices have simultaneously been issued to Essendon officials involved in the doping probe, but that is anticipated.
McDevitt outlined in the statement released on Friday how “following the conclusion of joint interviews with the AFL in mid-2013, ASADA continued to accumulate evidence to establish a possible violation.”
The legality of the unusual joint investigation undertaken last year, which saw the AFL involved in all interviews that ASADA conducted, has been widely questioned and may yet form part of defence cases.
The AFL sanctioned Essendon before last year’s finals series based on knowledge it gained through the joint investigation with ASADA. The league said it was issuing the punishments to deal with the governance failings that had occurred at the Bombers during 2012, as distinct from the potential breaches of anti-doping rules that ASADA continued investigating.
Past and present Essendon players are being legally represented en masse by Tony Hargreaves — who acted for the Bombers last year, but is now engaged to work exclusively for the players — and two members of the AFL Players’ Association’s legal counsel, Brett Murphy and Bernie Shinners.
There is a standard ten-day window provided for responses to show cause notices.
The next step is that briefs of evidence for each of the 34 past and present Essendon players who have been served show cause notices will be forwarded to the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel — the government-appointed group of experts that operates at arm’s length from ASADA but must review all significant doping matters in order for them to proceed.
It is the ADRVP that will determine, upon reviewing the evidence in each evidential brief, whether players’ names will be entered on the Register of Findings.
That action typically triggers the issuing of an infraction notice, which much come from the relevant sport; in this case the AFL.
Essendon chairman Paul Little is set to make a public statement on Friday after the club published an ‘open letter’ from the boss on the club's website on Thursday.