Federal Court Judge Enlisted To Bring ASADA Saga To A Conclusion
Frustration within Australia's major codes "over the painstaking approach" taken by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency "gave way to optimism" Monday as the Australian Football League and National Rugby League "welcomed news" that a former Federal Court judge "had been enlisted to bring the year-long investigation to a conclusion," according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Federal Minister for Sport Peter Dutton will review the ASADA investigation into supplement use in the AFL and NRL, and "complete a report by the end of April." NRL Head of Integrity Jim Doyle said, "The NRL supports any measures that will assist ASADA in bringing this current investigation to a conclusion." An AFL spokesperson said, "We welcome the introduction of a very experienced legal professional to help bring it to a conclusion" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/4). In Sydney, Walter & Carayannis reported infraction notices "may still be issued" against NRL and AFL players while Federal Court Judge Garry Downes is reviewing details. However, beyond an April deadline for Downes to finalize his report, "no date has been fixed for the end of the investigation." ASADA "would proceed as normal in its investigations," which have focused on events at Cronulla in '11 and Essendon in '12 (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/4). Also in Sydney, bush rugby league officials, players and fans "have been complaining about a lack of support and genuine respect for years." Over the next three weeks, all 16 NRL clubs will be involved in a series of pre-season trials. But just two of these games "will be played in the bush." Country Rugby Leaguee Chair Jock Colley said, "Just another kick in the guts" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 2/3).