Thirty-four former and current players at the Essendon AFL team were issued with “show-cause” notices by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) this afternoon as an 16-month investigation into the use of banned substances reaches a new phase.
Those accused were sent text messages informing them of the news. The offences allegedly occurred during the 2012 season as part of the Bombers’ controversial supplements program. The players have 10 days to respond in defence before ASADA cites them for doping.
Anyone charged would face the AFL tribunal and if found guilty, could receive up to a two-year ban.
In response, Essendon issued a statement saying it was unable to comment on the matter, but a media conference is being planned for Friday afternoon.
“The Club will continue to act in the best of interest of its players and respect the integrity and confidentiality of this process,” the statement said.
Coincidentally, the swoop by ASADA came just hours after Essendon chairman Paul Little posted an open letter on the club’s website saying the investigation had not seen any “significant developments”.
“Our players are still carrying the heavy burden of continued speculation in the media with no concrete timetable for the ASADA process to conclude – this has been incredibly frustrating for us all,” he wrote.
“However, I can confirm we are exploring all legal options for our players in the unlikely event they receive show cause letters from ASADA – we make no apologies for that.”
Last year, the Bombers copped a range of sanctions from the AFL, including the 12-month suspension of coach James Hird and a $2 million fine.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.