Six Australian Rugby League Clubs Under Investigation

Anti-doping officials have met with six top-flight Australian rugby league clubs that were named in a national probe into the use of banned performance enhancing drugs that sent shockwaves across the country.

On Tuesday, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) briefed National Rugby League (NRL) clubs Manly, Cronulla, Newcastle, Penrith, North Queensland, and Canberra on their investigation process after the clubs confirmed they were under scrutiny in the wake of a recently-released report.

The report, which is the result of a year-long investigation of Australia’s top criminal intelligence unit, had already implicated two teams of Australian Rules footba

ll to rock the sports-mad country.

The NRL said ASADA met with the affected NRL clubs as a group and individually and a brave face was put by senior officials at the teams. Manly CEO David Perry said we need to c

lean the game up if it is bigger than we think but expressed hopes that all is probably fine. Penrith boss Phil Gould, who slammed the report that didn’t provide details of affected clubs and players, said he understood it would be a drawn-out process. Canberra Raiders chief Don Furner remarked that we fully support any investigations by the NRL or the ACC in relations to these matters while Newcastle Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said his club will cooperate with any official inquiry and it maintains full confidence under the management of (coach) Wayne Bennett. North

Queensland Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain said the team has been mentioned in the report but they have no information on the context and they will not make any further public comment until a briefing is received by them though they strongly support the investigation.

The call from ARL Commission chief executive David Smith to Cowboys management came as a surprise to them as they said earlier in the day that they understood they were not one of the clubs to be named by the ACC. The ARL Commission chief executive said the league had no authority to confirm the number of players referred to in the report and added that the information that has been passed on to the clubs is simply that they have been referred to within the report. Meanwhile, the NRL has committed to establishing a fully resourced integrity unit and appointed a former federal court judge to assist in its investigations in the wake of the explosive report.

Ten other NRL clubs all confirmed they were not mentioned in the report. Meanwhile, authorities from cricket, football, and rugby union remarked they are not under investigation.

The meeting came after Australia’s sports minister, Kate Lundy, warned the country is facing a grim fight to stamp out doping, which the top criminal intelligence unit of Australia said was fueled by organized crime.

World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey said he did not understand why the government released the report in such a broadbrush way and added that he didn’t understand the motive behind that or the strategy though he said there may be a good reason but that is unknown to him at this stage.

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