NRL CEO Dave Smith Says League Not To Blame For Slow ASADA Investigation
National Rugby League CEO Dave Smith "has struck back at claims rugby league is stonewalling anti-doping investigators" -- and called on them to get on with the job instead of playing a "blame game," according to Andrew Webster of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. In a clear response to claims from World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey that the NRL was not handling the drugs crisis as well as the AFL, Smith said that "the anti-doping agencies should be more concerned with doing their jobs." Smith said, "Anyone from ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) or WADA who is party to turning this into a wedge between the sports is doing a disservice to the fans and losing sight of the need to resolve the issues" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/9).
FEELING THE EFFECTS: In Melbourne, Honeysett & Read reported Smith's comments "will have major ramifications for the case after suggestions that ASADA could cancel planned interviews with 31 players across the game if it feels they are being unco-operative." NRL Cronulla "welcomed the news from Smith and the NRL before indicating it was more than happy to commence interviews again." Interim Cronulla CEO Bruno Cullen said, "I'm pleased with Dave's statement in that regard and, as we always have been, we are ready, willing and very eager to get back into the interview process." Even if interviews do start again next week, "it could be months before they conclude" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/9).