AFL 2 years ago

Banned AFL players consider options

  • Banned AFL players consider options

The 34 banned Essendon players have met the AFL Players' Association, with an appeal and financial compensation on the agenda.

As former Bombers coach James Hird again insisted the supplements debacle was not his fault and the AFL revealed the guidelines for top-ups, the 34 current and former players considered their next moves.

Friday morning's meeting with the players association came three days after the stunning Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict.

CAS upheld a WADA appeal against an AFL anti-doping tribunal ruling that had cleared the players.

It means the 12 current Essendon players and their five former teammates now at other clubs cannot play this season.

The banned players want to appeal, but this appears unlikely.

Their much stronger option is pursuing financial compensation from Essendon as a result of the 2012 supplements program that has now cost them the anti-doping suspensions.

Captain Jobe Watson was among players who attended the meeting in person, while others were involved via a telephone hookup.

Players' Association chief executive Paul Marsh again said they would prefer a settlement out of court.

"I said the other day, and I stand by it, we would prefer to settle this thing if we can but it's got to be on the right terms for each individual player. If that's not achievable, all of our options are still open," he said.

Marsh added that the players remained united, but are still coming to terms with the CAS verdict.

"As you would expect, it's a couple of days since the decision, they are pretty down, as you would expect, and are looking for answers," he said.

Also on Friday, the AFL officially outlined how Essendon and the four other affected clubs can top up their playing lists for this season as a result of the bans.

The Bombers can sign 10 players on short-term contracts for this season.

Those players must either have been on an AFL list in the last two years or are on the Bombers' VFL list.

Essendon can also upgrade their rookie-listed players, provided they have a maximum of 40 players available for selection.

Port Adelaide, Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda can also upgrade rookies to replace the banned players.

Also on Friday, Hird said Stephen Dank, who ran the supplements program, reported to fitness boss Dean Robinson - who in turn reported to football department manager Paul Hamilton.

Hird added there was a sliding doors moment when their preferred candidate for head of high performance was unavailable.

Instead they recruited Robinson, who brought in Dank.

Hird said he was "eternally sorry" to the banned players, adding they "absolutely do not deserve this fate".

Meanwhile, the parents of former Essendon-listed player Hal Hunter are upset with the AFL and Essendon.

Hunter is not among the suspended players, but he was at Essendon in 2012 and is pursuing legal action over the supplements program.

"Since leaving the club at the end of 2013 and after 15 months of requests, Hal still does not know what the injections contained," they said in a statement to Fairfax.

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