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SBD Global/February 28, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Cricket To Step Up Drug Testing Following Death Of Tom Maynard
Published February 28, 2013
MORE TESTING: In London, Andy Wilson reported county cricketers "will be tested more regularly for recreational drugs." The ECB has previously tested for recreational drugs only "in competition" -- between 6am on the first day of a match until an hour after its completion -- with its "out-of-competition testing" only for performance-enhancing drugs, compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency code. But the Maynard case "has stiffened the determination" of both the ECB and the PCA to go beyond the WADA code "in order to protect the players themselves, rather than to prevent them cheating." It is understood that "any player found to have taken a recreational drug would be offered counselling and support in the first instance, with suspensions only applied to repeat offenders" (GUARDIAN, 2/26). In Sydney, Nick Hoult reported after Maynard's death Surrey "conducted an internal investigation," led by the club CEO Richard Gould, and overseen by board members Anthony Grabiner QC and Robert Elliott. They concluded the club "did not have a widespread drug problem" and, according to sources, narrowed its findings to a small "cabal" of players who were socialising too much. But the report concluded that "the club needs stronger players in leadership positions" -- Graeme Smith and Ricky Ponting have been signed for this season -- coaches "will be given more training to spot the symptoms of alcohol or drug use, there will be the adoption of a drugs and alcohol policy across the club and more comprehensive social drug testing policy out of competition" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/27).
CAPTAIN CONCERNED: SPORTINGLIFE reported former England captain Michael Vaughan "has voiced concerns there could be more players who use recreational drugs but hopes this case will act as a deterrent." PCA CEO Angus Porter does not doubt Vaughan but believes that "any problems are more reflective of wider society than anything specific to cricket." Porter said, "We had an early warning of what the pathologist's findings were, so in that sense it wasn't a complete surprise, but we didn't know any of the detail" (SPORTINGLIFE, 2/27). The BBC reported England batsman Ian Bell "is backing plans to increase drug testing" in the wake of Maynard's death. Bell said, "I would welcome testing for recreational drugs. Other sports are doing it, so why not? It is important that whatever is put in place... what has happened, never happens again" (BBC, 2/27). In London, Mike Atherton reported despite certain other players "professing ignorance of drug taking during the hearing, it is highly unlikely that Maynard was the only user of recreational drugs in the county game." And that, of course, will give the PCA "the greatest cause for concern." The "only answer is education: at home, at school and in professional environments." For county clubs and the PCA, "education on a whole raft of issues is vital" (LONDON TIMES, 2/27).