All 34 banned AFL players could appeal

All 34 banned Essendon players could join the Swiss appeal that aims to clear them of AFL doping offences.

Bombers chairman Lindsay Tanner also took aim at last month’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) verdict, accusing the three-man panel of taking giant intellectual leaps.

Lawyers for the 34 current and past players were finalising details of the appeal on Wednesday evening.

The AFL players association will announce on Thursday details of the challenge to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, with Essendon’s insurers to foot the extensive legal bill.

When it emerged last Friday that an appeal was happening, the speculation was that only some of the banned players would be involved.

But Tanner said on Wednesday it was possible they would all be part of the legal challenge.

“What these players now face is having a slur on their name, an extremely unfair slur,” Tanner told ABC Radio.

“(There were) a set of assumptions and shall we say giant intellectual leaps made in that Court of Arbitration for Sport decision.”

Last month, CAS upheld an appeal by WADA against the original AFL anti-doping tribunal ruling that cleared the 34 players of anti-doping charges.

Of those players, 12 remain at Essendon and five are at four other clubs.

The current players are not seeking an injunction.

Given the appeal hearing will not happen for about six months, they will still have to sit out this season regardless of the verdict.

“Even if we do get the ideal outcome, that the CAS decision is reversed and there are no further proceedings before the CAS – so in other words the players are free to play – by the time that came about it is hard to see how they would play this season,” Tanner said.

Also on Wednesday, it emerged that former rookie-listed Essendon player Hal Hunter plans to sue the club over the supplements program that led to the player bans.

Hunter was at the club in 2012 when the program was run, but he is not among the 34 banned players.

He has taken court action against Essendon and the AFL over access to documents relating to the long-running supplements saga.

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