The Essendon supplements saga will drag into a third season with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to appeal the not guilty finding.
And while AFL boss Gillon McLachlan admits he has concerns WADA’s appeal could tarnish the reputation of the game, he is adamant it will not overshadow the 2015 campaign.
“I think you always have those concerns,” McLachlan said on Tuesday.
“But there are things that we can manage and things that we can’t.
“Right now the football is fantastic, the season is going incredibly well and there’s a process that will play out here in the background, but broadly speaking I think the season is in very good shape.
“There are going to be a couple of days of this noise, but in all likelihood this appeal is a long way away, and people will hopefully be focused on a very competitive, exciting and tight football season.”
McLachlan said he had prepared for both scenarios as WADA mulled whether or not to appeal the AFL anti-doping tribunal’s verdict that cleared 34 past and present Bombers’ players, so he wasn’t surprised when the appeal was announced.
He admitted he didn’t know much about what the appeal process involved, how long it would last or even if new evidence had been uncovered.
Asked if WADA had powers to further investigate Essendon’s 2012 supplements program, he replied: “That, I think, is a discussion point. Again, I don’t have any information on that.”
The AFL will have “very little” involvement in the appeal process, but will be allowed to have legal representation present.
“I think we have ‘standing’, which means our lawyers can be in the room,” McLachlan said.
“But this is something between the Essendon playing group and WADA in a different jurisdiction. “We’re not really a party to the case.”