THE FEDERAL court has found in favour of ASADA and directed that the show-cause notices against the 34 past and previous Essendon players over the supplements scandal will stand.
Justice Middleton found all parts of the ASADA investigation lawful, including the provision of the interim report to the AFL.
Essendon players, including those now at other clubs, face the prospect of being suspended by ASADA.
Justice Middleton noted that neither Essendon, James Hird or the players brought legal proceedings to challenge the provision of the interim report at the time.
Essendon now have 21 days to appeal the judgement to the full federal court (a court of three judges).
ASADA meanwhile can move to reissue deadlines for the 34 players to respond to the show-cause notices, likely to be a timeline of 14 days.
The anti-doping authority was quick to welcome the federal court judgement.
"Today’s judgment vindicates (ASADA CEO) Ben McDevitt’s strong belief that the Act always contemplated ASADA working with sports to uphold clean competition," they said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.
"The only way to stay ahead of sophisticated doping regimes is to partner with sports; not exclude them from the process.
"Three months ago ASADA put formal allegations of possible anti-doping rule violations to 34 current and former Essendon players. These players still have a case to answer under the World Anti-Doping Code and Australia's national anti-doping scheme."
Outside the court, Hird would not comment on his coaching future.
"I'm very disappointed for the players," he said.
"This is about the players and we're very disappointed for our players."
Hird's wife Tania and controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank left the hearing without comment.
The AFL made a brief statement on the matter, acknowledging the court's decision.
"The federal court decision has reinforced that ASADA complied with the law in establishing and conducting the investigation and lawfully provided the interim report to the AFL," it said.
"The process is now in the hands of ASADA."
Stephen Dank leaves the Federal Court hearing. Picture: Getty Images