NRL: Earl charged in ASADA probe

Canberra winger Sandor Earl. Photo / Getty Images.
Canberra winger Sandor Earl. Photo / Getty Images.

The anti-doping probe into rugby league could be about to claim more scalps, with Canberra winger Sandor Earl agreeing to assist the investigation after being charged with using and trafficking banned peptides.

Earl, 23, is the first NRL player charged in the seven-month probe by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and he is facing a possible ban of four years to life on the trafficking count.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith said Earl had agreed to continue to assist the ASADA investigation.

That means he could get a much-reduced ban if he supplies information which implicates others.

Both Fairfax and News Corp reported the matters arose from Earl's time at the Penrith Panthers in 2011 and that suspect treatment of a shoulder injury was arranged by the controversial sport scientist Stephen Dank.

Earl's lawyer, Tim Unsworth, said his client had been treated by Dr Ijaz Khan at a private clinic in Cabramatta called Injury Care.

Penrith's head coach at the time, Matthew Elliott, told Fairfax that Dank had never held a formal position at the club.

Unsworth said Earl did not provide banned substances to any other NRL player and `trafficking', in his situation, could apply to his transporting a substance from one place to another for his own personal use.

Former ASADA chief Richard Ings believes the case could potentially leave a lot of athletes feeling very nervous and that Earl would have to give the anti-doping authority some quality information to get a discounted punishment.

"If he was to offer more information coming forward as to where he bought the performance enhancing drugs and particularly who he trafficked them to, it would work in his favour,'' Ings told AAP.

Smith called a hastily-arranged media conference on Thursday afternoon to deliver the shock news that Earl had admitted using and trafficking banned substances when interviewed by ASADA recently.

Earl, who has signed to play rugby union in France next year, joined the Raiders in mid-2012 after stints with Sydney Roosters and Penrith.

The banned peptide Smith said he was charged over - CJC-1295 - was reportedly mentioned in the internal report commissioned by the Cronulla club, which is being investigated over its suspect 2011 supplements program while it had Dank as an advisor.

Dank has denied any wrongdoing.

Smith said Earl had volunteered to stand down while the charges were dealt with and that he had 10 days to decide whether to go to a tribunal or accept a penalty handed down by the NRL.

"Today's development reinforces the position we have taken from the outset and highlights our resolve in dealing with what are serious issues,'' Smith said.

"We continue to work with ASADA ... to get to the bottom of all allegations.
"This is the first example whereby we have been given facts, we have evidence and the code is stepping forward and issued a notice.

"I can't go into specifics as it will unfold over time.''

CJC-1295 is an injectable synthetic peptide hormone that is similar in structure to human growth hormone and can increase lean muscle growth.

Ings said it's a substance that's banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and hasn't been cleared for human use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

"This is an unambiguously prohibited substance,'' Ings said.

"It's unscheduled in Australia. It's not approved by the TGA for human use and there's no doubt that this is a performance-enhancing drug.''

-AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 24 Sep 2014 15:09:18 Processing Time: 528ms