An impassioned Mark Thompson has thrown his full support behind Essendon’s legal action against ASADA in the wake of the show-cause notices issued to 34 players.
Bombers chairman Paul Little on Friday announced the club would launch legal action in the Federal Court challenging the legality of the 16-month-long joint AFL-ASADA investigation, which coach Thompson said was a strong move in defence of his players.
“Everyone’s entitled to the law of the land,” Thompson said.
“If this was your brother or sister or yourself and you were part of a process that was found not to be legal and you were punished for it then that’s not fair.
“They’ve had to live out the last 16 months where there has been enormous pain, scrutiny and heartache.
“It’s been hard to get through and I think now they can see the finish line.”
Essendon was disqualified from last year’s finals series, fined $2 million and coach James Hird was suspended for 12 months after the club initially cooperated with the investigation.
Hird has also launched his own legal action against ASADA and while Thompson had spoken to the banned coach, he said that the recent legal developments weren’t discussed.
“I spoke to (Hird) last night for the first time since the season started,” Thompson said.
“We didn’t talk much, he’s in France but he just asked how the players were basically.
“We didn’t really talk about that (legal action). He basically asked about the players, how they were feeling and he asked more about the team and how they were going.”
The show-cause notices and subsequent legal action mark a significant escalation in hostilities between the parties, but Thompson said the club was up for the fight.
“The last 36 hours have been well-organised, well-planned and well-communicated by the club,” he said.
“The players were a little bit vague and nervous and you could see that something was wrong (initially), but they’ve been given a lot of confidence by the club.
“Paul and the committee and the management of the football club have been in close contact and we’ve tried to look after them as well as we can. They’re fine – they’re ready for a game.”