Banned AFL players ponder legal options

The loss of 12 players may be the least of Essendon’s problems, with the devastating anti-doping bans potentially sparking legal action.

There is widespread speculation that the 34 current and past Essendon players will take the club to court and millions of dollars would be at stake.

AFL players association chief executive Paul Marsh said his body would talk to the league and the club first.

He said if those talks do not work out, there would be a “very high” chance of court action.

“I don’t think anyone wants to drag this through the courts and add another few years to this process,” he said.

“I’d like to think we could have productive discussions to try and get to this point.

“If you can’t, then legal action is something that you look at.

“The players’ legal team will now conduct a thorough review of the decision.”

On Tuesday, CAS upheld WADA’s appeal against the 34 players after the AFL anti-doping tribunal had cleared them last year of charges.

Essendon, the AFL and the players association were shocked when CAS also handed down two-year bans, backdated only by a year.

It means the 12 current Essendon players and the five at other clubs are suspended for this season.

Essendon’s season is effectively shot and the AFL Commission is expected to decide next month that captain Jobe Watson will lose his 2012 Brownlow Medal.

New club chairman Lindsay Tanner said the Bombers have massive challenges, but said he was unsure about the banned players taking legal action against Essendon.

“That’s ultimately a matter for them,” he said

“Look, it’s impossible to really assess these things, because we are not in a position to know whether anything of that kind will occur.

“Clearly, we have got big challenges in front of us for the balance of this year, for the 2016 season.

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