ASADA Not To Appeal Against Verdicts On Essendon And Stephen Dank

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has announced it will not appeal against the guilty findings against 34 past and present Essendon players and controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank, who was found guilty on 10 charges.

However, ASADA urged the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to take the matter direct to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority said any appeal against the AFL anti-doping tribunal verdicts on Essendon and Dank would remain within the AFL framework.

ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt gave a hint of a trust in the AFL system by remarking any appeal by ASADA would ultimately serve only to delay consideration of these matters and it may deny an immediate chance to WADA to take the case to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport. McDevitt said as with all other decisions he has made in these matters this decision has largely been informed by comprehensive legal advice.

The ASADA chief executive added he is conscious that ASADA does not have a direct right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the only appeal avenue open to ASADA at this time is to the AFL anti-doping appeals tribunal. McDevitt added he is also aware that appealing any of these decisions within the AFL framework would ultimately serve only to delay consideration of these matters by the World Anti-Doping Agency. He went on to remark therefore he has arranged to provide the entire case file encompassing all 35 matters to WADA for its independent review and this is in accordance with global anti-doping protocols.

The chief executive of ASADA added that WADA will then be able to make an independent decision as to whether to exercise its appeal options and ASADA will support any WADA initiated appeal in relation to these matters. McDevitt also remarked he wanted the findings of the tribunal to be made public.

The World Anti-Doping Agency now has 21 days to decide whether or not it wants to appeal the case. Its appeal is taken directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and not the AFL appeals board.

Meanwhile, Stephen Dank has confirmed he would appeal against the 10 charges laid by the tribunal and also said he is contemplating legal action against ASADA for their investigation. The sports scientist was found guilty of trafficking, attempting to traffic and complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances. He was also accused of overseeing what substances the players took and being the architect of the supplements program.

Former ASADA chairman Richard Ings said the charges against Dank do not surprise him. Ings said it has been a long time coming but Stephen Dank has made certain admissions about the distributions about banned substances and that he has a business in peptides that distributes banned substances.

In another development, Essendon coach James Hird has remarked he is ready to testify at a Senate inquiry into ASADA as Dank signaled he would appeal his guilty verdict. Hird remarked he would be happy to tell all about an inquiry he went to Federal Court to derail, assuming Essendon has never told its side of the story.

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