Just hours after the end of the season which will be remembered as being the one dogged by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation, ARL Commission chairman John Grant has raised the prospect of the damaging inquiry eating into 2014.
While it is expected that ASADA’s findings from their long investigation are expected to be released to the NRL sooner rather than later, Grant conceded that the administration held some concerns the fallout could leak into next season. ”There is a concern,” Grant said. ”It could. It’d be unfortunate, and we wouldn’t want it to be that way, but it could. We’ve had one season where the investigation’s been the underpinning of a whole bunch of things, and we would like to remove that.”
With Grant reiterating he and NRL chief executive Dave Smith had received no information about ASADA’s timeline, the NRL must also face the prospect of issuing infraction notices during the coming World Cup.
”I don’t know,” Grant said when asked if the World Cup, which will feature about 120 NRL players, could be tarnished. ”You’re making a whole bunch of assumptions that a) we’ll get a report, b) we’ll issue some infraction notices, and c) there’ll be a World Cup player.
”You can’t think about any of those. We’re working with ASADA, as we have done all along – they’re working to their timeline, they’re going to do the full job before they come to us, and that’s what we encourage them to do. Certainly, we’ve said to them, ‘we need to accelerate this’.
”We’ve been consistent about that, they’ve been responsive to that, but they’ve got to go through their process. We’ll get the report in due course. That investigation is in the final stages. The interviews have been completed, and it’s fair to say that we’re expecting a final report from ASADA – and I can’t say the timeframe – reasonably soon.”
Grant confirmed that there were ”processes” in place should any player be issued an infraction notice during the World Cup. ”If in fact there is a situation that does come where there is an infraction notice issued against a player that’s in the squad, there’s a process within the rugby league World Cup rules, whereby a nation can apply to have a replacement,” he said. ”It needs to go to the rugby league World Cup rules committee. But that’s to be determined at that time.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.