Cronulla Sharks star Ben Barba has been sacked during the final year of his contract after testing positive for cocaine a mere 4 days after his team’s first ever NRL premiership win.
He’d been facing an automatic 12-month ban from the game as this was his second violation of the league’s illicit drugs policy – with the first violation believed to have occurred in the past 12 months.
In a written statement, Barba confirmed he has been dealing with off-field issues:
I know and accept I need to take some time away from the game to deal with some personal issues.
I am accountable for myself and my actions and if I don’t address them now I will certainly ruin my career and more importantly my life and that of my family.
As footballers we often find it hard to speak up about having problems, but this decision has lifted so much pressure off myself that I cannot start to explain just how much better I feel by taking this action.
The Sharks also released a statement about the situation. “The club wishes to advise that it has agreed to provide Ben Barba an immediate release from his playing contract in order for him to address some significant personal issues.”
The premiership-winning fullback spent time in rehab in 2013, when he was stood down by Canterbury due to alcohol and gambling issues. His role in the Sharks premiership win this year was absolutely key throughout the season.
We’ll let you know more as this develops.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Photo: Getty Images.