Drug investigation heats up as hunt for cheats progresses.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has signalled its intent to push forward with investigations into performance enhancing drugs in the NRL by declaring they will interrogate 31 players.
ARLC CEO David Smith said that is the number he was been told are under under the microscope at this stage, but he conceded that figure could balloon as the investigation continues and more information is uncovered.
“As they (ASADA) get into the detail, things may change,” Smith told a packed media conference, as quoted by News.com.au.
The interviews are expected to take four to six weeks and will focus on players who have acted outside the knowledge of their clubs.
News.com.au also report the investigation will not centre on systematic doping at clubs, which has been alleged at the Cronulla Sharks.
“The investigation’s clear focus is on individuals, or groups of individuals, who may have done things outside of the club frameworks,” Smith said.
“ASADA has made it clear that we are not looking at orchestrated issues involving a number of clubs.”
No player is expected to be stood down or fired from their club unless specific examples of illegal doping can be proven.
“We believe nobody should be pre-judged and we will not stand down players unless their is sufficient evidence for an infraction notice,” Smith said.
The confirmation of the number of players to be questioned in the short-term is a step forward for fans and administrators who wish to see and end to the scandal so perpetrator can be rubbed out of the game.
The ASADA investigation has already done damage to club’s futures, with Cronulla star Todd Carney revealing yesterday he was close to signing a new deal with the club.
However, Carney shelved those plans when coach Shane Flanagan was stood down in reaction to the Sharks being caught up in the drug scandal.