ESSENDON will be restricted to recruiting players who have been on AFL lists in the past two seasons should any of its squad be suspended by the League's Anti-Doping Tribunal.
The AFL has released a statement pertaining to list concessions for Essendon to field a team in the NAB Challenge and contingency plans should any Bombers be suspended for the premiership season for their part in the club's 2012 supplements regime.
About 18 of the 34 past and present players handed infraction notices by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) are reportedly still on the club's list.
Should any, or all, be suspended and miss home and away matches, the Dons can only recruit players who were on AFL lists in 2013 or '14 on temporary contracts.
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Essendon will only be able to sign a maximum of two players from any club, except for its own VFL team.
However, the AFL's general counsel Andrew Dillon has the power to make exceptions to these guidelines, provided they don't unfairly disadvantage another club.
All 18 clubs have been advised of the recommendations, an AFL spokesman said.
The restrictions for the premiership season differ from those applied to Essendon for the NAB Challenge, which starts for the Bombers on March 7 against St Kilda in Morwell.
Essendon can use their VFL team's players but can also recruit any state league player for the pre-season matches.
Dillon said the list concessions and contingency plan were suitable outcomes for the competition.
“This is a reasonable and sensible package of concessions that recognises the unprecedented situation facing our competition, does not unfairly disadvantage other clubs, and allows Essendon to field a team,” he said.
The Bombers stated last week that all players who were at the club in 2012 during the club's supplements program would be unavailable for the NAB Challenge, as a measure to "protect the identity of our players with provisional suspensions."
The AFL said it would work with Essendon and the AFL Players' Association to ensure appropriate terms and conditions for the temporary players including minimum payments and provisions for injury, insurance and medical.
The AFL Commission also ruled that any payments to a temporary player would be included in Essendon’s Total Player Payments.
However, the club will be provided with a TPP allowance for those payments in a manner similar to the operation of the injury allowance.
The news comes as the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal hearing into the 34 past and present Essendon players draws to a close.
All closing submissions will have been lodged and heard by February 18, when the Tribunal will adjourn to consider its decision.