June 4, 2012
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WADA applauds four-year ban for Australian rugby player

WADA has noted with interest the four-year ban handed out by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to amateur rugby player-coach Francis Bourke.

Since 2009 the Code has permitted sanctions of four years - even lifetime bans – under Article 10.3.2, but this power has only rarely been imposed by WADA’s signatories.

In the case of Bourke, the Sunshine Coast Stingrays player was found guilty of possession and attempted trafficking of growth hormone releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6).

“We have been saying for some time now that the sanctions in the Code are tougher than many people appreciate, but to be effective we need them to be appropriately imposed by our signatories,” said WADA President John Fahey.

“The ARU has demonstrated that it is possible to come down hard on an individual whose offense is considered more serious than those which usually result in a two-year sanction.

“It also clearly shows how seriously a member of an entourage, in this case a coach, will be dealt with if they are involved in supplying substances to athletes.”

Bourke’s doping violation was brought to the attention of Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) after Australian Customs and Border Protection Service intercepted a parcel destined for the player.

ASADA then notified the player’s federation, the ARU.

“Finally, the case is a good example of the growing effectiveness of intelligence sharing between anti-doping agencies and other law enforcement authorities,” added Mr. Fahey.

“Intelligence and information sharing has rapidly become an important pillar for the anti-doping community, and WADA will continue to look for ways to enhance this aspect of anti-doping.”