WADA set to present its case on Bombers

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - GRANT BAKER

THE Essendon 34 will find out as soon as to­day what, if any, new ev­i­dence WADA plans to use against them at the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport.

Gun US anti- dop­ing lawyer Richard Young and his team were due to de­liver their pros­e­cu­tion brief to play­ers’ lawyers overnight.

WADA is pur­su­ing the cur­rent and for­mer Bombers play­ers over the al­leged use of the banned pep­tide Thy­mosin beta- 4 – a charge they beat at the AFL Anti- Dop­ing Tri­bunal this year. WADA ap­pealed that ver­dict to CAS and was granted a 45- day ex­ten­sion to pre­pare its case.

The ap­peal pro­ceeds “de novo” – which means WADA could sim­ply retry the same ev­i­dence pre­sented by the Aus­tralian Sports Anti- Dop­ing Au­thor­ity to the AFL tri­bunal.

But it is also free to present any new ev­i­dence or call new wit­nesses.

Un­der CAS guide­lines, the play­ers have 10 days to re­spond to the WADA brief – but they are also ex­pected to be granted an ex­ten­sion.

Prom­i­nent QC Neil Clel­land will lead the play­ers’ de­fence. They face bans of up to two years if found guilty.

CAS has al­lowed WADA and the play­ers to each se­lect one of the three ar­bi­tra­tors who will hear the case. The two known ar­bi­tra­tors are ABC chair­man James Spigel­man and Bel­gium- based bar­ris­ter Ro­mano Su­biotto.

Play­ers still re­main in the dark on when and where the hear­ing will take place. WADA has asked it be heard at CAS head­quar­ters in Switzer­land.

WADA has sought a stay of pro­ceed­ings in its case against sports sci­en­tist Stephen Dank while Dank’s deal­ings with the AFL tri­bunal – which last month banned him for life – over a po­ten­tial ap­peal are fi­nalised.

The tri­bunal found Dank guilty of 10 charges, but did not sus­tain a fur­ther 24. WADA has ap­pealed to CAS on the 24 charges.

A de­lay in the Dank case could add to the play­ers’ wait if the hear­ings are con­sol­i­dated – also a de­ci­sion yet to be made.

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