Maitua accepts two-year NRL drug ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maitua accepts two-year NRL drug ban

15/06/2009 07:09:12 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla forward Reni Maitua maintains he never knowingly took the banned substance which has rubbed him out of the NRL for two years.

Maitua, who has a long record of off-field misdemeanors, on Monday accepted the two-year ban for returning a positive drug test under the World Anti-Doping Authority code.

He tested positive to the banned substance Clenbuterol, a stimulant used to boost muscle mass, after a test taken on May 1 this year and his B sample confirmed the result 10 days ago.

Maitua decided not to appeal against the test result but remained adamant he had taken the substance accidentally and apologised for his mistake.

"Until I received the results of the testing, I had not ever heard of Clenbuterol," the 27-year-old said in a statement issued by the NRL.

"I am still not aware what it does or what it is claimed to do.

"I did not knowingly ever consume this substance or any other banned substance.

"I have no idea how this substance came to appear in my sample but I accept that it has.

"I understand my ignorance or lack of any intention on my part to breach anti-doping guidelines is no excuse.

"As a professional NRL player under the NRL's anti-doping policy, I have a responsibility to ensure that I do not digest, even by accident, a prohibited substance.

"I accept that I have breached the policy and, as much as it pains me, I accept the punishment I shall suffer."

Maitua has been provisionally suspended since May 20 and will be free to resume playing on May 19, 2011 when he will be nearly 29 years of age.

The former Test lock was sacked by the Bulldogs in December last year after turning up late several times to training and, in 2006, lost his license for drink driving.

The Sharks threw him a lifeline in January this year.

"It is too early at this stage to even contemplate whether at the end of the ban I would seek to play again in the NRL," Maitua said.

"I hope that by the approach I have adopted in not contesting this finding, I have saved my family, the Sharks, their fans and the NRL from further adverse publicity and suffering.

"I would like to thank all those coaches, players and supporters who have assisted me in my rugby league career.

"I reserve a special thanks to my family and partner Natalie who have endured undeserved scrutiny but have always stood by me.

"I realise that many of you may feel that I have let you down and, if so, I apologise for this."

In announcing the ban, NRL chief executive David Gallop said: "The penalty is a stark reminder of the need for all players to be vigilant about any substance they take.

"The NRL remains committed to a stringent anti-doping program.

"Reni has paid a high price but the manner in which he has dealt with the issue today is a definite step in the right direction."

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