AFL does not fear legal action over bans

AFL does not fear legal action over bans

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan says he does not fear players serving doping bans will take legal action against the league.

Seventeen current players – 12 at Essendon – are serving season-long doping suspensions this year related to the Bombers’ supplements debacle.

A total of 34 current and former Bombers are making a last-ditch appeal to a Swiss court.

McLachlan said it was important that support was provided to the players as they negotiate compensation claims with Essendon.

Asked if he feared legal action from banned players, McLachlan said on Tuesday: “I don’t think there is a fear.

“There is an understanding that those players have been through an extraordinary period of uncertainty.

“They have been through something they shouldn’t have been through.

“They have a legitimate right to talk to the club about being compensated for that.

“I know the club is up for those fair and amicable discussions (and) if they haven’t started already they will start soon.”

McLachlan said he had only seen “snippets” of Dyson Heppell’s frank admission that it would be tough to watch the Bombers’ AFL season opener on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

The star Essendon midfielder spoke at length publicly for the first time on Monday night since the CAS verdict earlier this year.

That decision upheld WADA’s appeal and went against 34 current and past Essendon players including Heppell.

Heppell told AFL360 he felt a great sense of injustice against the club and was adamant the banned players had done nothing wrong.

“It is great Dyson is honest and up front about how he feels,” McLachlan said.

“Those players have been through a lot.

“There is a finish line at the end of this year.

“Supporting those players for a tough year is going to be important.”

But asked about the ban, McLachlan said: “It was a strong decision by the AFL Commission that now looks like the right one.”

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