Cronulla chairman Damian Irvine resigns.
The chairman of crisis-hit Australian rugby league club Cronulla Sharks has quit days after alleging that some of the team’s players were injected with “equine substances” in 2011.
The Sharks have been at the centre of a doping scandal gripping the National Rugby League and last week head coach Shane Flanagan was suspended while four other football staff members were sacked.
In announcing his own resignation, Damian Irvine said the club had been under intense pressure since being mentioned in a wide-ranging Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report into doping in sport.
He said comments he made to a Sunday newspaper that some Cronulla players had been given horse drugs in 2011 had not helped.
“I shouldn’t have made them (those comments) at the time,” Irvine said.
“But it wasn’t an interview in a calm situation. It was a middle of the night conversation after quite a bit of badgering. It wasn’t sensible to make those comments and I’ll take responsibility for those.
“I feel my presence at the club may prove be to an obstacle in allowing those affected by the decisions made by the board last week to move forward,” he added.
“As a result I’m standing down as chairman of the board of directors.”
Irvine has been replaced by board member Glenn Coleman.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is investigating the Cronulla club following the Australian Crime Commission report which found the use of prohibited substances was common across multiple sporting codes.
It identified six NRL clubs in a scandal that has shocked the sports establishment.
As many 14 Sharks players have reportedly been accused of using prohibited drugs, with allegations they were given Thymosin Beta 4 (a substance used on horses to increase muscle growth) and CJC-1295 peptides in the 2011 season.
The Sharks opened their NRL season with an emotional 12-10 victory over Gold Coast on Sunday.