Cats suspend Stokes until round eight - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats suspend Stokes until round eight

08/02/2010 08:39:39 PM Comments (0)

Mathew Stokes' AFL career is on hold for at least the next three months as the Geelong forward faces his cocaine charges.

Geelong announced a range of club penalties for the 25-year-old on Monday, including suspension until round eight of the regular season, a $5000 fine and the demand that he finds full-time work until round four.

He is due to face court again on March 12 after being charged last Wednesday with possession and trafficking of cocaine.

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, Stokes could face a lifetime AFL ban if found guilty of trafficking.

The Cats stood Stokes down on Wednesday after he was freed on bail.

A day later, the Cats' leadership group met with Stokes and then decided on their own penalties, which the club and the AFL have endorsed.

Apart from the $5000 fine, the Cats have also:

* suspended Stokes until round eight, allowing him to train at the club until round one only when no other players are there.

* From rounds one-four, Stokes can only train with Geelong's VFL-listed players.

* From rounds five-seven, Stokes is eligible to play in the VFL.

* From now until round four, Stokes must find full-time employment and train only outside of working hours.

* He must help a drug-related community program.

"These sanctions do not speak to Mathew Stokes guilt or innocence on the charges issued by the Victoria Police on Wednesday, and will stand regardless of the outcome of those charges," the Cats said in a statement.

"The penalty does not take into account any possible action under the (WADA) anti-doping code, as the club does not have jurisdiction in this area."

The AFL have endorsed Stokes' club-imposed penalties.

"The AFL accepts Geelong's actions and will continue to work with the club and monitor this issue closely," AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson said in a statement.

In 2007, the Cats suspended forward Steve Johnson for the first five weeks of the regular season because of off-field misbehaviour.

Johnson responded brilliantly, making the All-Australian teams in 2007-08 and winning the Norm Smith Medal as best afield as the Cats won the 2007 grand final.

Earlier on Monday, Anderson strongly defended the league's education about illicit drugs, saying players had no excuses if they misbehaved.

He added the illicit drugs policy had achieved a significant reduction in positive tests.

"What the education and the illicit drugs policy has done over the last four years has seen the number of positive tests drop below one per cent in the AFL competition for the first time," Anderson said.

"It's less than a quarter of what it was before the illicit drugs policy and that education program started.

"We know there are players who still use drugs and that will remain a focus, to try to eliminate that, but there has been a major reduction in that.

"We know that for a fact from the testing and education that we do."

Meanwhile, the Cats have announced pioneering football administrator and corporate lawyer Diana Taylor will join their board.

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