NRL Players Face Immediate Punishment If ASADA Finds Evidence Of PED Use
The National Rugby League "faces the prospect of players being stood down on a daily or weekly basis if the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority finds sufficient evidence to charge them with using performance-enhancing drugs," according to Brad Walter of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. With ASADA investigators due to begin interviewing up to 14 Cronulla players this week, "there is the possibility that the first doping charges will be laid soon." NRL CEO Dave Smith recently announced that ASADA "would interview 31 current NRL players and about 10 former players, many of who are thought to be playing in the English Super League competition." Rather than wait until ASADA has interviewed all of the players to decide which ones face charges, "they will begin charging individuals as soon as they have enough evidence." By doing so, the process "will move at a faster pace as anti-doping hearings may be able to take place while interviews with other players continue." While "it is likely to ensure weeks of bad publicity for the code, that is inevitable if players are charged and dozens of hearings are required." However, some clubs "may have to endure the prospect of losing players on a gradual basis as they are stood down after being issued with infraction notices by the NRL" (SMH, 4/8).