Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) boss Ben McDevitt has hailed the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for its verdict on the Essendon 34.
The CAS upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) appeal against the AFL tribunal decision to clear 34 players of taking the banned peptide Thymosin beta-4 in 2012.
All 34 players - 12 of whom remain on Essendon's list, with another five now contracted to other AFL clubs - have been banned from the sport for 12 months.
McDevitt said the players had neglected their anti-doping education and, in agreeing to be injected without making inquiries about what they were injected with, were responsible for the outcome.
"This unfortunate episode has chronicled the most devastating self-inflicted injury by a sporting club in Australian history,” he told reporters.
"There were very little grounds for the players to claim they were at no significant fault.
"The players had received anti-doping education through the AFL and ASADA, and were well aware that they are personally responsible for all substances that entered their body.
"Unfortunately, despite their education, they agreed to be injected with a number of substances they had little knowledge of, made no inquiries about the substance and kept the injections from their team doctor and ASADA.
"Of 30 ASADA testing missions during the period in question, none of the 18 players tested declared the injections, despite being asked each time whether they had taken any supplements.
"At best, the players did not ask the questions, or the people, they should have. At worst, they were complicit in a culture of secrecy and concealment.
"The CAS result brings this matter to a close and ASADA looks forward to continuing to work with all sporting codes to promote a clean and fair sporting environment."
Essendon chairman Lindsay Tanner apologised on behalf of the club to the players for the events of 2012 but said the penalty imposed was unfair.
"The penalty imposed on the 34 players is manifestly unfair," he said.
"At all times, our players acted in good faith. They sought assurances and were provided them. If ever there was a case to be made for a finding of no significant fault, this was it.
"The individual blame game that has dominated debate...is in my view unproductive."
"There was a collective systemic failing and it needs to be seen in that light."
Tanner said the club respects the decision and will not challenge it.
James Hird, who coached Essendon in 2012 and has already served a one-year by the AFL for his role in the scandal, labelled the decision a "miscarriage of justice," while the AFL Players' Association boss Paul Marsh called the decision a "disgrace," adding: "We are struggling to understand how the CAS decision can be so different to that of the AFL anti-doping tribunal."
|Hodgson hopes Zaha avoided injury|
|Snow causes Wakefield-Widnes abandonment|
|Liverpool 5 Watford 0: Inspirational Salah nets four as Reds bounce back|
|Lambert rues Everton´s ´offside´ opener in costly Stoke City defeat|
|Scotland´s late rally leaves Townsend feeling positive for the future|
|Wales hold off France to claim second behind Ireland|
|Man Utd bench Pogba & Sanchez for FA Cup quarter-final|
|Pardew: Evans loss key to Bournemouth defeat|
|Zarco breaks track record to claim Qatar pole after Rossi crashes in practice|
|Ireland had to make every moment count against England – Best|
|Salah breaks Torres´ impressive Liverpool record|
|We are not heroes one day and villains the next – Mourinho continues defence of Sevilla exit|
|Lions bounce back against Sunwolves, Stormers end miserable streak|
|Jones: England losing streak only natural|
|They have many players who´d get in my team – The Sevilla stars Mourinho should buy|
|Mario Gomez will not beg for World Cup place|
|England´s form continues to run cold in Twickenham snow|
|Nibali holds on in Milan-San Remo as Cavendish crashes again|
|Bournemouth 2 West Brom 1: Stanislas piles misery on Pardew|
|Buffon to play on for Italy as Di Biagio calls up uncapped duo|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Crystal Palace 2: Tomkins and Milivojevic secure priceless win|
|Stockdale makes history as ruthless Ireland win Grand Slam|
|Stoke City 1 Everton 2: Tosun at the double after Adam´s early dismissal|
|Simeone insists Atletico can survive injury crisis|
|Ireland´s Stockdale breaks Six Nations single campaign try record against England|
|Leipzig out to halt Bayern celebrations at Red Bull Arena|
|NFL Draft 2018: Jets acquire number three overall pick from Colts|
|Board accepts responsibility for West Ham woes, Brady claims|
|In-form Eriksen hopes he hasn´t hit Tottenham ceiling|
|Roma boss Di Francesco happy with Messi, Barca challenge|
|Bangladesh warned over ´unacceptable´ Colombo behaviour|
|The directors know where to find me - Gattuso awaits Milan talks|
|Laidlaw breaks Italian hearts in Rome|
|UMBC´s March Madness win earns everyone in USA free pizza|
|Zidane focused on Real Madrid players, not Neymar|
|Mourinho´s United rant recalls unhappy Madrid demise|
|Swansea City 0 Tottenham 3: Eriksen leads Kane-less Spurs into FA Cup semis|
|Valverde not worried about Barcelona legacy|
|Markelle Fultz´s return remains a mystery to Brett Brown|
|Bale is happy at Real Madrid, says Zidane|
|Spalletti seeks consistency as Inter prepare for final push|
|Absence of ´best in the world´ Busquets makes Rakitic key for Barca|
|I was out of the game - Halep offers no excuses for Osaka shock|
|Tigers spoil Slater´s 300th NRL game, wins for Penrith and Warriors|
|A-League Review: Sydney stumble again as Jets close gap|
|Highlanders claim derby win over Crusaders, Brumbies beat Sharks|
|Dreadshock! Neymar reveals new hairdo|
|Shakib and Nurul sanctioned for unruly Colombo conduct|
|Villarreal defender Semedo denied bail on attempted murder charge|
|Boots up! - Pietersen career seemingly over|
|Messi: I´m a less selfish player|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Williams|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Renault|
|Thunder claim key win, injury-ravaged Warriors fall to Kings|
|Japanese sensation Osaka blitzes Halep en route to decider|
|Giant-slaying Kasatkina upstages Venus to reach Indian Wells final|
|Coaching Italy would be extraordinary – Mancini|
|J.J. Watt breaks news of Tyrann Mathieu´s deal with Texans|
|Super Bowl champion LeGarrette Blount joins Lions|
|Intensity key to Liverpool toppling Man City, says Klopp|
|Warriors star Durant to miss at least two weeks with rib injury|
|Doc Rivers fined $15,000 for calling officiating ´complete joke´|
|Ravens sign WR Michael Crabtree to three-year deal|
|Tiger stumbles as Stenson and DeChambeau move clear|
|Tiger Woods: I just tried not to shoot myself out of tournament|
|Del Potro to meet Raonic in semis|
|People listen to idiots - Mourinho cites ´dictionary of life´ in extraordinary rant|
|Mourinho tells struggling Manchester United stars to ´grow up´|
|Woods seven off Bay Hill lead after level-par second round|
|Real Madrid links ´massage the ego´ of Roma goalkeeper Alisson|