Sport AFL Suspended ‘Essendon 34’ plan next move

Suspended ‘Essendon 34’ plan next move

Dustin Fletcher arrives at the AFL Players Association.
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The 34 current and past Essendon players who were handed a 12-month ban for taking illegal supplements have met with the AFL Players Association (AFLPA) to consider a possible appeal and legal action.

About a dozen players, including Jobe Watson and the retired Dustin Fletcher arrived at the AFLPA’s headquarters in Melbourne for the meeting on Friday.

The remaining players took part via a phone hook-up.

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Earlier this week the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld an appeal by the World Anti-doping Authority against an AFL tribunal decision to clear the players of taking the banned substance thymosin-beta 4.

The players were suspended from the sport for 12 months.

AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh said an appeal and a possible compensation claim against the club was among the issues discussed.

“There are a lot of things we need to work through around what they can and can’t do following the ban, talking about their welfare, things to keep them productive this year,” he said.

“Talking about next steps around getting compensation from the club, so there was a lot of stuff we talked about.

“It’s a couple of days since the decision, they’re pretty down, they’re looking for answers.”

He said the AFLPA was also looking into appealing the CAS decision.

“We’re certainly looking into every option and we’ve got our lawyers working on that and we certainly haven’t got a position on that yet,” he said.

“They’ve been united the whole way through this process and I don’t see that changing now, but there are individual circumstances here that every player has and we need to respect those.

“We’d prefer to settle this thing if we can, but it’s got to be on the right terms for every single player and if that’s not achievable then all our options are still on the table.”

Former Essendon coach James Hird said in a column published on Friday in a News Corp newspaper that the team chosen to run the Bombers’ controversial supplements program led it down the path to ruin.

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