IRB reprimands ARU over Tune - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

IRB reprimands ARU over Tune

By Paul Mulvey 13/06/2003 10:26:49 PM Comments (0)

The International Rugby Board has reprimanded Australia over its handling of the Ben Tune drugs cover up and warned it to change its procedures.

The IRB sent Australian Rugby Union chief John O'Neill a letter on Thursday night condemning the way the ARU had not revealed that Wallaby winger Tune had taken a banned substance in early 2001 until it came out in newspaper reports 16 months later.

"A letter of reprimand went to the ARU for their handling of the affair, it was critical of the way the Ben Tune case was handled," IRB spokesman Chris Rea said.

"The IRB was not happy with the procedures followed by the ARU and Queensland Rugby Union.

"The IRB put some recommendations to the ARU in the letter and made it clear that these recommendations had to be implemented and the loopholes closed so there can be no repetition of the situation which led to the Ben Tune case."

The IRB said it considered imposing financial penalties on the ARU and has not completely ruled them out.

Tune took the prohibited substance probenicid in 2001 to help recover from a knee injury and missed four Super 12 games for Queensland as the substance cleared his system, although the official line was that he had not recovered from the injury.

A judicial hearing in Sydney last August cleared Tune but the IRB ordered an ARU report into the hearing which was studied by its Anti Doping Advisory Committee.

The IRB made nine recommendations to the ARU, including:

* Super 12 and Test team doctors must be qualified sports medicine physicians and are responsible for administering drugs to players.

* The ARU must distribute the IRB's drugs policy to players.

* The only cases in which a player can be treated by anyone other than the team doctor are when they are referred to a specialist, selected for a higher representative team, in an emergency.

* The ARU anti-doping by laws must be amended to clear up ambiguity.

* The list of banned substances and exemptions must be made available in the one document.

* A sports medicine physician should be appointed as the only person to manage the ARU's anti-doping issues.

The IRB has promised an unprecedented level of out of competition drug testing in the build up to the World Cup in Australia in October and November, as well as during the event.

First offenders face a minimum two-year suspension from the game and players with a record could be banned for life.

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