Cronulla Sharks Face The Music Over Supplements Program

The Cronulla Sharks have been Essendon Bombered by the NRL, with league CEO Dave Smith today announcing the provisional punishments it plans to dish out to the club and its staff for various breaches of the NRL Code Of Conduct, uncovered as a result of the ASADA investigation into the club’s 2010/2011 supplements program. The club will be issued with a $1 million fine, Head Coach Shane Flanagan is facing suspension of one year and Head of Strength and Conditioning Trent Elkin is likely to have his registration cancelled.

The club was found to have exposed players to both “significant potential risks to health” and “possible breaches of the NRL Anti-Doping Rules”, as well as (possibly more troublingly) “Allowed persons without the necessary qualifications and training to administer supplements to players“, and “failed to obtain the fully informed consent of players to the administration of particular supplements”, among other violations.

was found to have failed to “ensure a safe and healthy work environment” and “properly supervise the Head of Strength and Conditioning (Elkin), and also failed to act in proper consultation with the Club Doctor in relation to the supplements program, among other violations.

Elkin was found to have exposed players to “significant potential risks to health” and “possible breaches of the NRL Anti-Doping Rules”, “misrepresented material facts to players in relation to the supplement program” as well as “allowed persons without the necessary qualifications and training (including himself) to administer supplements by injection,” among other violations.

The Cronulla Sharks were one of the NRL clubs that sports scientist
and Peptide Bandit Stephen Dank was involved with prior to his move
to the AFL.
The Sharks, Flanagan and Elkin have been issued with a Breach Notice outlining the ASADA findings and the likely punishments, but Smith stressed that they will be given an opportunity to respond to the findings, telling a press conference that “Before any final determination is made, I will give full consideration to the contents of any response made by the Club, Mr Flanagan and Mr Elkin.”

Widespread peptide use, and the links to organised crime and even match fixing and the manipulation of betting markets, uncovered by the Australian Crime Commission have cast a dark shadow over Australian sport this year. With Justice Minister Justin Clare announcing earlier this year that “The ACC has found that professional sport in Australia is highly vulnerable to infiltration by organised crime. Multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of currently using or having used peptides,” there are, sadly, likely to be more stories of this nature to come in 2014.

Via Lead Image by Mark Nolan via Getty