National Rugby League Side Cronulla Players To Learn Sanctions From '11 Doping Investigation
Some of the National Rugby League side Cronulla players "accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs" in '11 could "escape with a ban of as little as four weeks during the off season," according to Roy Masters of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Past and present players are "expected to be called to a meeting with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the NRL this week where they will be offered a range of sanctions, some receiving a ban of one month and others six months." The meeting will reportedly be on Wednesday, with ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt "anxious for it to be resolved before the end of the season so players given six-month bans can miss only one month" of the '15 season. Although the World Anti-Doping Agency code allows for a maximum 75% discount on the "standard two-year punishment for players who co-operate with ASADA, there is provision for admonishment, or a one-month sanction, for those found to have taken unapproved prescribed, rather than prohibited, substances" (SMH, 8/18). In Sydney, Brad Walter reported for the players, "it will mean an end to the constant speculation and scrutiny that they have had to endure" since the press conference at Parliament House on Feb. 7, 2013 that was "infamously" dubbed the "darkest day in Australian sport." For officials and supporters, it will "restore stability to the club" after two seasons overshadowed by the ASADA investigation into the supplements program at Cronulla during an 11-week period at the start of the '11 season. Having recently estimated that the investigation had cost the club A$4M ($3.7M), the Sharks have "paid a high price for what happened four seasons ago" (SMH, 8/18).