ASADA Offers NRL Cronulla Sharks Players Deal In 2011 Doping Scandal
If National Rugby League side Cronulla Sharks players admit they were "doped and duped" during the supplements program in place at Cronulla during the '11 season, they will receive a "three-week ban following a deal offered" by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority on Wednesday, according to Roy Masters of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The 17 past and present players, all of whom have been "offered the same deal, will receive a 12-month sanction for doping, but will have their sentences back-dated" to Nov. '13. They have "until Friday to accept the deal, effectively a three-week ban, or it will be off the table and they could face the mandatory two-year punishment for use of prohibited substances." ASADA lawyers offered the deal to players and their legal representatives at a "series of meetings in Sydney." ASADA has applied the "no significant fault" concession to the players "believing they were unwitting victims of an ad-hoc, experimental doping program" (SMH, 8/21). REUTERS' Nick Mulvenney reported Australian doping authorities "began issuing formal allegations of possible anti-doping violations" to 17 current and former Cronulla players. An ASADA statement said, "A total of 17 'show cause' notices are to be issued (and) relate to the use of prohibited substances." The Sharks said that five of the players were "still at the club and had been offered the chance to accept a possible ban as punishment for their alleged infractions" (REUTERS, 8/20). In Sydney, Read & Honeysett reported the NRL is "believed to be ready to act against sports scientist Stephen Dank." The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has reportedly "done everything within its power in terms of Dank, and the pursuit of the sports scientist is now in the hands of the major sports." While the AFL is "likely to wait until the outcome of the current Federal Court case" involving Australian Football League side Essendon, the NRL has "no reason to hesitate and could act against Dank imminently" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/21).