The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority will not appeal the AFL anti-doping appeals tribunal’s not guilty findings on 34 current and former Essendon players and sports scientist Stephen Dank.
ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt ruled out an appeal on Monday on the grounds it would remain within the AFL framework.
But he left the matter in the hands of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which now has three weeks to decide whether it will appeal.
“As with all other decisions I have made in these matters this decision has largely been informed by comprehensive legal advice,” McDevitt said in a statement on Monday.
“I am conscious that ASADA does not have a direct right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the only appeal avenue open to ASADA at this time is to the AFL anti-doping appeals tribunal.
“I am 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 (WADA).
“I have therefore arranged to provide the entire case file encompassing all 35 matters to WADA for its independent review.
“This is in accordance with global anti-doping protocols.
“WADA will then be able to make an independent decision as to whether to exercise its appeal options.
“ASADA will support any WADA initiated appeal in relation to these matters.”
McDevitt also called for the release of the tribunal’s full findings and reasons “in the interests of transparency”.
It has been nearly three weeks since 34 past and present Essendon players involved in 2012’s controversial supplements scandal were cleared by the AFL anti-doping tribunal, following a two-year joint ASADA-AFL investigation.
McDevitt the next day said an appeal was a “very live option”, but added the national anti-doping body wanted to examine the tribunal’s findings and its pending findings on Dank before deciding whether it appealed against the verdicts.
Last week the tribunal cleared the controversial sports scientist of 21 of 31 charges while finding him guilty of multiple offences of trafficking banned substances.
Crucially, it was not comfortably satisfied that Dank administered the banned substance Thymosin beta-4 to any Essendon players – the same reason the players themselves were cleared.
Dank has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong at Essendon and has indicated he will appeal the findings against him.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has said his personal wish is that there are no challenges to the tribunal findings.