Six Australian rugby league clubs in drugs probe

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:24pm EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Six Australian rugby league clubs have confirmed they are under investigation by anti-doping authorities in the wake of an explosive government report into the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs in sports Down Under.

The clubs Manly, Cronulla, Newcastle, Penrith, North Queensland and Canberra were informed by governing body, the National Rugby League, that they were named in the report, the teams said on their websites on Tuesday.

The report, the result of a year-long probe by Australia's top criminal intelligence unit, has also implicated two Australian Rules football teams.

The revelations have plunged both rival football codes into crisis ahead of the start of their seasons in March and caused shockwaves in Australia, long proud of its image as a nation that plays fair.

NRL chief executive David Smith declined to provide details of the probe into the clubs but said the governing body had been working with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority for a "number of weeks".

"I was given a confidential briefing by the ACC several weeks ago," he told reporters, referring to the Australian Crime Commission, the country's top criminal intelligence unit behind the report released last week.

"And that's what it was. Confidential.

"I can't comment on the outcome on the information we have so far. What I can say is that they're serious matters.   Continued...