The 34 former and current Essendon players involved in the club’s controversial supplements scandal in 2012 have today been found not guilty by the AFL Anti-Doping tribunal.
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The decision means 18 current Bombers players are free to play in Saturday’s round one match against Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium.
Former Bombers Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries, now at Port Adelaide and Western Bulldogs forward Stewart Crameri have been cleared of doping and will also line up for their respective sides.
ASADA boss Ben McDevitt slammed the tribunal’s decision and said that Essendon’s alleged actions in 2012 were “utterly disgraceful”.
“What happened at Essendon in 2012 was, in my opinion, absolutely and utterly disgraceful,” McDevitt said in a statement.
“It was not a supplements program but an injection regime and the players and the fans were so poorly let down by the club.
“While I am obviously disappointed that the charges in this instance have not been proven to the comfortable satisfaction of the tribunal, I am pleased that the tribunal was finally able to hear these matters.”
As expected, the verdict stirred up much debate on social media, with opinion divided over the tribunal’s decision.
Check out some of the reaction below:
To all of those who have stood by us, our fabric is stronger because of you. Thank-you. #DonTheSash
— Essendon FC (@EssendonFC) March 31, 2015
I am so proud of our players
— Xavier Campbell (@XCampbell79) March 31, 2015
Thank goodness. Let’s get on with footy.
— Cameron Ling (@CameronLing) March 31, 2015