League: NRL rejects appeals by Cronulla, coach

The Cronulla Sharks were under investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit. Photo / Getty Images
The Cronulla Sharks were under investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit. Photo / Getty Images

The NRL has rejected appeals by Cronulla, suspended Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and their former trainer Trent Elkin over penalties relating to the club's controversial 2011 supplements programme.

The decision means the preliminary A$1 million ($1.07 million) fine imposed on the Sharks on December 17 will stand, as will the 12-month ban on Flanagan and the cancellation of Elkin's registration. All three parties opted to appeal the sanctions initially handed down on December 17, which related to Cronulla's supplements programme during the 2011 season when the Sharks squad was allegedly exposed to an 11-week regime of injections, creams and tablets.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith said the club, Flanagan and Elkin had failed many of the players in regards to safeguarding their health and welfare, adding that they were exposed to significant potential risk.

"Having thoroughly and carefully reviewed their submissions, we have today advised the club, Mr Flanagan and Mr Elkin of my final determinations," Smith said.

"They are to confirm that the club breached the NRL code of conduct in several respects in relation to its supplements programme during 2010-2011 and that Mr Flanagan and Mr Elkin were responsible for a number of the failings that led to those breaches."

As previously announced, A$400,000 of the Sharks' fine will be suspended - subject to a number of conditions.

Similarly, Flanagan's suspension can be reduced to nine months if he satisfies conditions imposed by the NRL, including the completion of an intensive education and training course.

"The NRL will not accept any practices that put our players at risk," Smith said.

"Our clubs are obligated to ensure proper processes are in place to protect our players and we will always take strong action and decisive action when there is a failure to do so," Smith said. AAP

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