NRL Cronulla Sharks Will Not Receive Possible ASADA Sanctions Until After Season
National Rugby League side Cronulla Sharks "will not face any possible sanctions" its contribution to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation until well after the grand final, according to Josh Massoud of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The Australian Football League’s "unprecedented move to dump Essendon from the finals has turned attention on to what measures the NRL are contemplating in regard to Cronulla, which has also been charged with accusations of systemic doping." The NRL decided "long ago to wait until the ASADA probe is complete before determining any action against the Sharks." With ASADA not expected to complete NRL player interviews "until next week, Sharks legal representatives have been told they won’t learn about any further action until mid-October at the earliest" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/29). In Sydney, Brent Read reported former rugby league CEO John Quayle on Wednesday "backed the NRL's decision to delay any sanctions against Cronulla but warned if and when the game's governing body does decide to hand down penalties, it must do so irrespective of the Sharks' perilous financial position." That "patient approach has created the prospect that the Sharks could win the grand final and be stripped of the title a matter of weeks, or possibly months, later for bringing the game into disrepute." Just as concerning for the NRL "would be the impact a financial sanction would have on Cronulla." Essendon was slapped with a A$2M ($1.8M) fine by the AFL for "its part in the supplements scandal and a similar penalty for Cronulla could spell the end for a club that has lived on the breadline for years" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/29). In Sydney, Daniel Lane reported Australian Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare "has admitted Cronulla captain Paul Gallen's mobile phone was confiscated and downloaded by customs officers upon his return from New Zealand last month," but he has revealed it was not related to the ASADA investigation. When asked if the practice "could possibly make a footballer feel like a criminal," Clare confirmed the incident involving Gallen was not, "as initially suspected, because of a request made by ASADA." Clare: "The advice I got is that was not related to the ASADA investigation." When asked if he "knew what it was related to," Clare said, ''I don't have the details to that" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/29).