Dozens Of Players Across Two Codes Face Penalties Over Doping In ASADA Inquiry
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s inquiry into the use of prohibited substances in two football codes "is on the cusp of a staggering climax" as 17 players from National Rugby League side Cronulla’s '11 squad and as many as 40 from Australian Football League side Essendon face possible sanctions, according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. In a precursor "to a potential doomsday scenario for the two clubs at the centre of the more than year-long investigation, both stand to be decimated if the alleged breaches go on to result in two-year bans for dozens of their players." It is believed ASADA, whose new CEO Ben McDevitt begins in the post on Monday, "is ready to issue show-cause letters as early as this week." The NRL and AFL "have been eagerly awaiting news from Canberra" about whether their seasons would be turned upside down 15 months after the infamous "darkest day in Australian sport" news conference in the capital that sparked the investigation (SMH, 5/12). In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery wrote any athlete-support personnel convicted of doping offenses out of the Essendon-Cronulla supplements scandal "will become persona non grata in elite sport for at least six years under the new World Anti-Doping Agency code to be introduced next year." Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates warned the national sports federations at the AOC’s annual general meeting over the weekend that from next year, any athlete or organization that associated with a "prohibited person" would also face sanctions. Coates said that all sports that were signed up to the WADA code "needed to be aware of the new rules." One of the key features of the new code is a crackdown on the "athlete entourage" -- coaches, managers, trainers, sports scientists or medical staff who facilitate athletes taking banned substances (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/12).