Knights consider year-round drug testing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights consider year-round drug testing

21/12/2009 07:50:44 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle are looking into the possibility of future holiday drug tests if there is evidence of "suspicious activity" from one of the NRL club's players.

CEO Steve Burraston says the Knights have begun investigating the legal and industrial relations implications of year-round testing after captain Kurt Gidley called on the club to test players at any time.

Gidley's call came amidst reports more Knights players could be interviewed or charged by police over the drugs scandal which has resulted in forward Danny Wicks facing six charges of supplying and two of possessing prohibited substances.

The skipper is desperate for the veil of suspicion to be lifted from the club as it prepares for the 2010 season.

The Knights conduct extra tests to those carried out by the NRL but have conceded the summer holidays window is a possible loophole.

"We are considering all legal and logistical challenges involved with such a rigorous testing regime," Burraston said in a statement on Monday.

"We see this as a great tool for the club moving forward for target testing as it allows us the ability to act on credible evidence presented to the club with regards to suspicious activity involving illegal substances."

Burraston is mindful of not breaching player contracts, as well as Rugby League Players' Association rules which require a player's permission for testing when on leave.

"We have to make sure it is worded correctly and that players are given time to take advice on the matter," he said.

"Once we receive the appropriate clearance we will then take the policy to the players group for discussion and implementation."

He said player privacy would be a high priority.

"I expect this to be an in-house procedure," he said.

"We have no intention to make a public spectacle of this matter.

"We intend to respect the privacy and rights of our players throughout this process.

"We reiterate that we already run one of the most stringent testing regimes in Australian sport."

Meanwhile, Burraston said he would await the outcomes of the police investigation into the Wicks case and would need "solid evidence" before any action was considered against other players.

Wicks was stood down indefinitely following his arrest last week.

"We have faith in our legal system and are confident police will present any necessary evidence to us if they suspect any players of being involved in illegal activities," Burraston said.

"Some very serious allegations have been reported in the last week. There is an ongoing police investigation and we have no intention of hindering their investigation in any way.

"We don't act on rumours and innuendo and until such time that we are presented with solid evidence we won't be taking matters into our own hands.

"It is a matter for police and they are much better placed to deal with such matters."

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