Ahmed Saad is in danger of having his 18-month suspension for testing positive to a banned drug extended to two years.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is set to appeal against the AFL’s finding in the case of the suspended former St Kilda player, who tested positive to Methyl Synephrine HCL - a substance found in an energy drink he took before a match earlier this year.
Saad is likely to be represented at the ASADA appeal and fight for his suspenion to remain at 18 months.
The 24-year-old appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday where he pleaded guilty to driving while suspended.
During the hearing, Saad's lawyer told the court his client would have ongoing legal costs to pay in the future in the wake of the ASADA announcement.
The AFL Tribunal gave Saad an 18-month ban on November 26, however he could now face the maximum penalty of two years.
The AFL issued a statement on Thursday saying ASADA had notified the league of it’s intention to appeal the verdict, and Saad has also been advised.
The AFL appeals board will sit at a date to be announced.
Saad was delisted by St Kilda on November 14 and this week conceded to having previously taken the banned substance, which ASADA regulations permit can be taken during training, but not on match days.
Saad said he had consumed the pre-workout supplement, which is called "Before Battle" and made by Viking Protein, previously before AFL matches, but was unaware until he tested positive to a routine match-day drug test that the substance was illegal.
Saad's lawyer, William Sheehan, has stated that the player's legal team had negotiated down from the maximum two-year penalty.
Saad, whose suspension started on August 20, had hoped to be redrafted by the Saints in 2014 with the ambition of playing in 2015.
"They’re open to the thought of picking me back up," Saad said.
"It’s all up to me to make sure I’m fit and I’ve trained and worked hard and in reasonable shape, and hopefully that’s something that they do take into consideration," he said.
"I want to make this year kind of a foundation for me to build on so whether I do come back in the AFL and play a year or five, at least I've got something that I’ve actually set up in this year and make the most of it, rather than dwell on what happened."
Clark tested positive after taking a similar powder-based energy drink to the one Saad had taken.
Saad took the product because it was given to him by a trusted mentor and he did not see approval for the energy drink.
It is the same substance to which world champion sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell tested positive for earlier this year.