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Statement from AFL Players’ CEO Paul Marsh

The AFL Players’ Association can confirm the players’ lawyers have reviewed the summary of evidence that has been provided by ASADA in support of the amended show cause notices.

The players’ legal team have had discussions with the players about the show cause packs and the material on which ASADA’s case is based.

The players affirmed their commitment to seek an expeditious process to give them the opportunity to remove the cloud that has hung over them for almost two years.

The players do not intend to respond to the show cause notices.

It is important to note that the onus of proving the allegations against the players that they were administered the prohibited substance Thymosin Beta 4, rests with the AFL. While ASADA is only required to demonstrate to the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel a ‘possibility’ of a violation, the much higher standard proof of ‘comfortable satisfaction’ is required to be proved by the AFL at the AFL Anti-Doping tribunal.

The players’ lawyers have written to ASADA and the AFL informing them that the players do not intend to respond to the show cause notices and requested that ASADA expedite the process by bringing the matter before the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel within seven days.

In the event that ASADA is not able to meet that timeline, ASADA has been requested to simultaneously provide the AFL General Counsel and the players’ legal team with all the documentation and evidentiary material it has in this matter so that the matter can be dealt with in accordance with the AFL Anti-Doping Code.

We urge ASADA to take all necessary steps to accede to the players’ request for this matter to be fast-tracked, particularly given that:

– the players remain steadfast in their belief they have done nothing wrong;

– the players have cooperated fully throughout the entire process;

– the evidence should have been provided when the show cause notices were originally issued in June; and

– the unnecessary delays that the players have had to endure that are in no part attributable to them, without there being any finality to this saga.

This process has already taken up 21 months – about half the average AFL player’s career. The prospect that players would have to endure a third season with these proceeding hanging over their head is simply unacceptable.

The players want this matter resolved quickly and fairly. It is time to bring this matter to an end.

Listen to the reactions from MMM’s Hot Breakfast and SEN’s Morning Glory, below