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2016 ruined: Players found guilty, banned for season

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has found 34 past and present players guilty of committing an anti-doping rule violation.

The players – including 12 currently listed with Essendon – have been suspended for the 2016 season.

James Hird says he is ‘shocked’ by the decision.

‘I firmly believe the players do not deserve this finding,’ Hird’s statement read.

‘They do not deserve to face a twelve-month suspension from the sport.

‘This is a miscarriage of justice for 34 young men.’

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan said the full AFL Commission would review Jobe Watson’s Brownlow medal in February.

He also confirmed several other measures, including:

  • Essendon may upgrade all five players on its rookie list
  • Dons may sign up to 10 extra players to its list
  • Melbourne, St Kilda, Port Adelaide (2) and Western Bulldogs may immediately upgrade a rookie to senior list for every player suspended

Click play Gillon McLachlan’s press conference

In a statement, ASADA chief Ben McDevitt slammed the club once more.

‘This unfortunate episode has chronicled the most devastating self-inflicted injury by a sporting club in Australian history,’ he said.

The AFL Players Association was very unimpressed with those comments.

Gerard Healy gave a passionate editorial at the beginning of Sports Today.

‘In focusing on the severity of the penalty… the main issue for the game has been lost: the verdict,’ Healy said.

‘It was guilty. It was unambiguous, and it cuts to the heart of the investigation – the integrity of our competition.’

Port Adelaide Chairman David Koch said the club will continue to support Angus Monfries and Patrick Ryder.

He told Tom Elliott gathering around players who need support is what ‘good footy clubs’ do. 

Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi was relieved that ‘sanity has prevailed’. 

She told Tom Elliott CAS ‘doesn’t give a damn’ about the AFL’s image or Essendon’s bank balance.

‘We’ve had a decision that it looking at the case purely at the evidence presented,’ she said.

‘There are no agendas, there’s nobody trying to manipulate the result.’

The Age’s Jake Niall told 3AW Breakfast ‘it’s a disaster for players, the game and for Essendon’.

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