The World Anti-Doping Agency has reportedly turned to US guru Richard Young as it seeks to prosecute 34 current and former Essendon players.
Young, a top international sports lawyer, is best known for playing a part in the downfall of drug cheats Marion Jones, Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong.
The Bryan Cave partner, who is based in Colorado Springs, helped draft the original World Anti-Doping Code.
WADA revealed last week it was appealing the AFL anti-doping tribunal’s verdict on March 31, which cleared all the players of charges related to the banned peptide Thymosin beta-4.
The venue and date of the upcoming hearing will be determined after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel is appointed.
WADA is yet to reveal details on its legal team, but News Corp Australia reported on Wednesday that Young will present its case against the past and present Bombers.
If true, it will take little time for Young to be brought up to speed on proceedings.
He advised ASADA during its initial investigation of the Bombers and NRL club Cronulla.
Young has handled high-profile cases involving the United States Anti-Doping Agency, United States Olympic Committee and other national Olympic bodies.
The news follows a Fairfax Media report that WADA wants the case to be held in Switzerland.
Submissions on the location of the appeal won’t be heard until the CAS panel is appointed.
But any push for an overseas location would frustrate the Bombers given CAS has an Oceania office in Sydney.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire was unimpressed with reports that WADA wanted the matter to proceed in Lausanne.
“If you want to get away from the AFL influence, do it in Sydney. That seems to me to be really narky and beyond the pale,” McGuire said in his morning spot on radio station Triple M.
“I can’t understand this.
“Why wouldn’t you send two people over here and hold it in Australia?”
Essendon coach James Hird, captain Jobe Watson and chief executive Xavier Campbell all expressed confidence last week that CAS will rule in favour of the players.