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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The Australian Football League and National Rugby League have been "warned they would effectively be disowned by government if they sought to break away from World Anti-Doping Agency requirements and run their own tailor-made programs," according to Samantha Lane of THE AGE. Federal Sports Minister Peter Dutton has "outlined the government's position at a time when the nation's richest and most popular professional football codes are embroiled in damaging drug scandals that could lead to dozens of players and others, such as coaches, facing sanctions." Dutton said on Thursday that the "integrity of sport requires" all Australian sporting codes to remain WADA compliant. He added it would be a "double standard" if Australian sports broke away from WADA. Dutton: "We cannot, on the one hand, demand that our athletes are able to compete on a fair playing field in international competition, with the same rules and sanctions applying to all, and on the other hand support sporting organizations within Australia independently deciding if to test and what to test for, when to investigate, and whether or not to penalize doping athletes" (THE AGE, 6/19). In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery reported Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Melanie Schlanger "joined the ranks" of Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority critics when she "blasted the agency's drug testers for refusing to let her attend a medical appointment for treatment." She tweeted, "ASADA u are a joke. Forcing me to miss an appointment for an ongoing injury so you can save a couple of $$ is unacceptable @anti_doping." Schlanger said later that she would be making a "formal complaint about the incident," describing it as "bureaucratic nonsense." She has also reported her experience to Swimming Australia (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/20). Also in Sydney, Caroline Wilson reported AFL side Carlton has "joined the growing chorus of disenchanted clubs concerned at the detrimental effect Essendon's drug saga is having on the competition." Incoming Carlton President Mark LoGiudice said, "My view is that if it drags on to the point that it affects the brand of the AFL then we are all damaged. Has it gone on too long? Anything that affects the AFL brand is the time when we have an issue" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/19).

PHARMACIST WEIGHS IN: Also in Sydney, Chip Le Grand wrote pharmacist Nima Alavi, who prepared the peptides that sports scientist Stephen Dank "allegedly injected into ­Essendon players," said that he did not know "with any certainty what they were given." And "neither, he said, could the anti-­doping investigators." Alavi said that a batch of Thymosin peptide he supplied to Dank in Jan. '12 was "intended for testing only and not for human use." ASADA suspects that Dank "administered those peptides, untested, to Essendon players." Dank denied this. Alavi said that if that happened, it was "impossible to know whether the players were given Thymosin Beta 4, a substance that is banned, Thymosin Alpha 1, a substance that is permitted, the similarly permitted Thymomodulin, or something else altogether" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/20).

The Australian Rugby Union is "digging its heels in on the controversial issue of player sabbaticals," with CEO Bill Pulver declaring there is "zero appetite" for relaxing Australia's "strict rules on Test eligibility," according to Georgina Robinson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Pulver "all but shut the door on change." Pulver: "I can tell you there is zero appetite to change the policy that requires Wallabies to be playing domestic rugby in advance of being selected for the Wallabies." With fears circulating that Australia faces a "mass exodus of its biggest stars after next year's World Cup, Eales told Fox Sports that the time would come when the ARU would have to look at different ways to retain its best players." Pulver said, "We've seen the All Blacks do it, giving people sabbaticals, and in the sabbaticals they can either have a rest or go and play on a lucrative contact overseas" (SMH, 6/19). REUTERS' Ian Ransom reported New Zealand has "adopted a sabbatical scheme on a case-by-case basis," allowing some players to "take a break from playing." Despite the policy, a "number of capped Wallabies have signalled their intention to quit the country at the end of the Super Rugby season, including former captain Ben Mowen and Western Force backrower Hugh McMeniman." Australia has "previously massaged the policy, and allowed veteran flanker George Smith to play for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions after returning from Japan for a short stint with Canberra-based Super Rugby team ACT Brumbies" (REUTERS, 6/19).

Sacked South Australian high-performance Manager Jamie Cox "remains the sole casualty of the Big Bash League contracting fiasco, after the South Australian Cricket Association escaped with a heavy fine for recruiting three players to the Adelaide Strikers outside the contracting window." A Cricket Australia investigation has found that the SACA "breached recruiting guidelines by entering into agreements with Brad Hodge, Kieron Pollard and Jono Dean before the BBL embargo period had started" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/19). ... FIFA "has urged" the Botswana FA "to be wary over government’s handing over Constituency football league to the national association." The privately owned Midweek Sun newspaper quoted FIFA on Wednesday as saying that "should the BFA fail to honour the instruction from FIFA, Botswana clubs and national teams will be suspended from all international completions" (APA, 6/19). ... With the Supreme Court refusing to restrain suspended Board of Control for Cricket in India President N. Srinivasan "from taking over" as Int'l Cricket Council chairman, the BCCI "has sent a final confirmation to the world body intimating that its President-in-exile will be the candidate to head the all-powerful Board." Srinivasan "will officially take charge" as the first chairman of the ICC Board on June 29 in Melbourne after the completion of its six-day annual conference that starts on Monday (PTI, 6/19).