NRL boss unfazed by drawn-out doping probe

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NRL chief executive Dave Smith isn’t surprised the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation has dragged on for more than a year.

More than 12 months after Smith and the heads of six other codes attended the news conference in Canberra branded ”the darkest day in Australian sport”, no player has been suspended and the investigation into the use of banned substances continues.

Smith said he knew at the time that any outcome was a long way off and the NRL had acted carefully as a result. ”I am not surprised, given the complexity and the amount of work involved,” Smith said. ”I can remember as part of that process, as difficult as it was, that the allegations were incredibly serious and really complicated. It felt that it was just at the start, rather than halfway through it, so I felt that it would take a while for the investigators to investigate and for the facts to become clear. That is exactly why I have managed it the way I have because it wasn’t clear and it is becoming clearer as we have managed to establish the facts.”

Former Canberra back Sandor Earl is so far the only player in any code to receive an infraction notice after admitting to using the banned peptide CJC-1295 to treat a shoulder injury in 2011. Earl is facing a ban of up to four years for use and trafficking of a prohibited substance, but is seeking a 75 per cent reduction for providing ”substantial assistance” to the investigation. However, he remains in limbo and NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle said he didn’t know when Earl would learn his fate.

”At the moment, Sandor and his legal team are obviously still working with ASADA in regards to the level of substantial assistance,” Doyle said. ”It is out of our hands until they have concluded all their discussions and then, obviously, we will take that forward.”

Smith said the NRL was still awaiting a submission from Parramatta trainer Trent Elkin to support his appeal against a minimum two-year ban announced before Christmas over his role in the supplements program at Cronulla in 2011.

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