ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt has hit back at the AFL Players' Association's request to expedite the process for the current and former Essendon players with show-cause notices, saying the anti-doping authority would "not be dictated to".
The players' association issued demands on Thursday
to bring the matter before the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel (ADRVP) within seven days, but ASADA returned fire, saying it was unable to do that under its legislation.
McDevitt also questioned where the AFLPA's "interest in player welfare" had been in 2012, when the club's supplements program was underway.
"In the six months I have been at ASADA I have had the club, the coach, the AFL Players' Association, various other legal entities, plus other interested parties all voice their views as to the management of these matters," McDevitt said in a statement.
"While all claim to represent the interest of the players and/or Australian sport, the advice as to remedial actions varies dramatically.
"In my role as protector of clean athletes in Australia, my advice to them is that if they want to act in the best interest of the players they should review the 12,000 pages of evidence and follow the due process.
"I only wish that such interest in player welfare had been present in 2012."
Last Friday, 34 players were re-issued with show-cause notices and given 10 days to respond, and ASADA confirmed that window would end on October 27.
ASADA's statement revealed it had written to the players' association's legal team to "remind" them the ADRVP was a "separate and independent body to ASADA and the CEO has no legal power to direct the function of the ADRVP or to dictate the timing of its consideration of cases".
It also suggested the club and players' hopes to fast track the case lay with the AFL.
As distinct from when the 34 players were first issued the notices in July, last week their amended notices came with a 350-page dossier including individually tailored summaries of evidence.
ASADA said it would have provided the evidence the first time notices were delivered, if not for Essendon and coach James Hird's legal battle in the Federal Court.
"It was appropriate for ASADA to delay the delivery of evidence in these matters until a judgment was handed down," it said.
"ASADA is as keen as anyone to finalise these matters, but it will not risk the proper consideration of these serious matters for the sake of speed."