The Essendon Football Club Supplements Saga: Exploring Natural Justice for Team Sanctions within Anti-Doping Regulations
10 October 2016, the Essendon Football Club (EFC) performance enhancing drugs regulatory saga concluded with the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) deciding not to ‘entertain’ Essendon’s appeal of the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS)’s guilty finding, thus supporting the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA). The EFC CAS appeal is a unique case as it is the first time a team (34 players from the one team) have been subject to CAS’s jurisdiction for allegations of doping contrary to the World Anti-Doping Code. One significant concern throughout this regulatory sage was that the team-based nature of the infraction denied individual players natural justice. Central to these concerns is the fact that the players were advised by EFC to take part in the program and that its chief architect, sports scientist Stephen Dank, never gave sworn evidence that was tested in cross-examination. This column investigates whether there are important lessons for team-based anti-doping infractions from the EFC saga.