The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced it will appeal the AFL anti-doping tribunal’s verdict in regards to the 34 current and former Essendon players.
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The AFL anti-doping tribunal handed down a not guilty verdict after players were accused of taking the banned substance thymosin beta-4, to which ASADA decided not to appeal.
However, WADA has announced it will take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
WADA director general David Howman confirmed the move in a statement on Tuesday.
“We have now completed our independent review of the full case file on the AFL Anti-Doping Appeals Tribunal decision regarding 34 current and former Essendon players,” Howman is quoted as saying by Fairfax Media.
“After a thorough examination of the evidence contained within the file, WADA has decided to lodge its independent right of appeal to the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“As with all pending cases, and adhering to the proper and normal respect for the integrity of the legal process, WADA will refrain from commenting further on the subject until a decision has been made by CAS.”
Essendon chairman Paul Little told Triple M radio that the club was surprised by WADA’s announcement.
“We were confident that it was such a unanimous decision out of the tribunal, and then of course ASADA decided there was insufficient evidence to appeal, and that gave us confidence that the WADA situation being, if you like, more remote, would be found in our favour,” Little is quoted as saying by ABC.
“But not to be.
“Our belief was unless there was new information of some sort based on what we knew and we now know, the basis for the not guilty finding by the tribunal in particular, that we’d be okay unless there’s new evidence and at this point in time we don’t know if there is.
“It’s unlikely, I would’ve thought. It’s just too early to know.”
It means yet another nervous wait for Essendon players, who were of the belief that the matter was closed following ASADA’s decision not to appeal the AFL anti-doping agency’s verdict.