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AFL 2012 Media - 2013 Fixture Announcement

AFL deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan says players may have been involved in illegal activity unknowingly

THE AFL believes that its players are potentially innocent of any wrongdoing as the ASADA investigation continues.

AFL deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan confirmed that the AFL believed its players may have been unwittingly involved in any illegal activity.

"The AFL potentially feels that if anything has happened, the players are innocent in this," McLachlan told Channel 9's Footy Classified.  

"And we need to find out one, if anything has happened, and two, if that's actually true.

"So when you have allegations or scenarios that are as serious as they are, and potentially having a whole player group who is unwittingly involved in something, you've got to get the right answers, so that will take as long as it takes."

However, McLachlan said he couldn't comment as to whether the coaches could be cleared.

"I can't comment because I don't know, that's the point of the investigation," McLachlan said.

He then reiterated his belief that the players may be an innocent party.

"What we were cleared to say, through the information we've received is that there is a possibility the players – the allegations if proven – may well see that the players had no idea," McLachlan said.

"Beyond that I can't comment, and if it's true, where it started and stopped is a subject for the investigation."

McLachlan also confirmed that contingency plans had been put in place on all potential outcomes of the ASADA investigation, including the possibility that Essendon may be unable to compete in the 2013 AFL season.

"I think that it's our responsibility to canvass a plan for every scenario," McLachlan said.

"There is a technical scenario where if every allegation is true and if you took an interpretation of the code and you took a certain set of timings it could be true.

"So you have to plan for that."