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Essendon to foot players' ASADA legal bill

(Editors note a digital filter has been used to create this image) Jobe Watso of  Essendon leads his team out after the half time break during the 2014 AFL round 07 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on May 03, 2014. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Essendon says it will cover the players' legal costs if required
ESSENDON is set to foot the total bill of legal costs associated with defending its players in the ongoing ASADA drugs investigation.

The covering of costs was one of the key items addressed as players, their parents and officials met legal representatives in a meeting at the club’s base on Tuesday night.

Prominent Melbourne lawyer Tony Hargreaves will be working with David Grace QC and Ben Ihle with AFL Players Association counsel Brett Murphy and Bernie Shinners, completing the players’ defence team.

Player agents were yesterday made aware that the club would be covering costs in the event they received show cause notices from ASADA.

AFLPA acting boss Ian Prendergast revealed after Tuesday’s meeting that all contingencies had been covered.

"(The meeting was) purely just to provide players and parents with an update on the preparation we're doing in the event show cause notices are issued,” acting AFL CEO Ian Prendergast told The Footy Show. 

"I think it's important we keep everybody involved. We'll focus on making sure that information gets passed onto 17 past players who have since left the club.”

Hargreaves’ involvement with the players is interesting given he, until recently was working on behalf of the Essendon Football Club in all of its separate dealings with the ASADA investigation.

Essendon chairman Paul Little said his greatest concern was the players’ welfare.

"The options are to deal with infraction notices when and if they arrive,” he told The Footy Show.

“From our point of view we're trying very hard to keep the players protected from a lot of the speculation because it is harmful and flows down through the families.”

Little added: "Like we've done the whole way through, for 16 months, we've tried to keep the parents informed about what the options are and what may or may not happen.”

“We're just trying to be well prepared for any outcome."