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Essendon loses Federal Court battle with ASADA

Essendon loses Federal Court battle with ASADA
September 20, 2014
Legal / Sport /

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has won the Federal Court case brought against it by the Essendon Football Club and its coach James Hird. 

The Federal Court found that ASADA's investigation into Essendon Football Club's 2012 supplements program was lawful, leaving the ant-doping agency free to pursue its supplements case against 34 past and present Bombers players.

The Federal Court has also ordered Essendon and Hird to pay for ASADA's legal bill believed to amount to about $1 million.

On the back of a $2 million fine handed down a year ago by the AFL for bringing the game into disrepute following the 2012 supplements investigation, the Bombers are carrying a debt believed to be in excess of $5 million.

The debt is largely due to financing of the Bombers' new Tullamarine training and administration facility.

While Essendon and Hird are believed to be considering an appeal, there is the possibility the players themselves will will sue the club for negligence, an action being pursued by formers players emerged in the supplements scandal at NRL club Cronulla.

Indeed, Essendon could face the loss of players if they seek to leave over the club's handling of the supplements program and the subsequent investigation.

ASADA, vindicated by the court's decision, said it would continue to work with sports to uphold clean competition.

An ASADA statement explained "the only way to stay ahead of sophisticated doping regimes is to partner with sports: not exclude them from the process."

ASADA reiterated that the 34 current and former players still have a case to answer under the World Anti-Doping Code, adding "our aim has always been to expose what happened at Essendon in 2012 and we steadfastly remain committed to this."




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