Breaking news: Essendon players banned for 12 months

Updated: January 11, 2016


Essendon’s worst fears have been realised with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) finding 34 past and present players guilty of taking banned substance Thymosin Beta-4 and suspending them for 12 months. Twelve players still on the Bombers’ list and five who have moved to other AFL clubs will miss the entire 2016 season. With discounts, most players’ bans will end in November 2016.

Essendon captain Jobe Watson is likely to also face scrutiny over his 2012 Brownlow Medal win. The bombshell decision is final. It also overturns the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal’s not guilty verdict from last March, following an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Authority. CAS handed down its verdict on Tuesday morning after a three-man panel heard the appeal in Sydney last November.

Following three years of anguish, the verdict is as a hammer blow to the 34 players who took part in the Bombers’ 2012 supplements program. The guilty decision impacts four other AFL clubs with former Essendon players on their lists – Jake Carlisle (St Kilda), Stewart Crameri (Western Bulldogs), Jake Melksham (Melbourne), Angus Monfries and Patrick Ryder (Port Adelaide).

The guilty verdict is another shattering blow in the fallout from Essendon’s supplements program, instigated by former coach James Hird and overseen by controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank. The Bombers were hit with the heaviest penalty in AFL history when they were booted from the 2013 finals series, stripped of draft picks and fined $2 million for governance failures.

The arbitration procedure was conducted by a panel of Court of Arbitration for Sport arbitrators: the Hon. Michael J. Beloff QC, barrister in London, United Kingdom (President), Mr Romano Subiotto QC, Solicitor Advocate in Brussels, Belgium, and the Hon. James Spigelman AC QC, barrister in Sydney, Australia and London, United Kingdom.

Hird was also banned for 12 months and, after returning last year, the club legend fell on his sword in August when he resigned amid mounting pressure after poor on-field results. For details of where the 34 past and present Essendon players impacted are now plying their trade, check this excellent infographic below, with thanks to

Note: Betting has been suspended across the board on all relevant markets relating to this decision. The Inside Word will monitor relevant changes once markets are reposted, more than likely in the coming hours.



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