NRL announces new drug testing measures

BEN HORNE
Last updated 15:44 24/05/2013

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The NRL has announced a number of new steps to outlaw drug cheats from the game, including the immediate introduction of a biological passport program.

With the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) currently investigating possible doping violations across the code, the NRL has moved to ensure it is on the front foot in the future.

The Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program won't cover every NRL player but will cover a cross section and will be guided by ASADA.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith said the game's overall testing of players would increase by 30 per cent.

Other new testing measures include improvements to testing for Human Growth Hormone (hGH) pioneered at the London Olympics and increased testing for peptides.

Samples will be sent to London for hGH examination and Cologne in Germany for the latest in peptide testing.

Smith said he hoped testing would increase in future seasons.

"The ABP test is in effect as of now. We've signed the contract earlier in the week so the new regime is in place. It's actually happened," Smith said at an announcement at Rugby League Central.

"What I've described is the things we will do for the rest of the year.

"Tests start now.

"ASADA will do all the things they need to do to carry out the testing.

"Where we start is not where we're going to finish. We will always be able to shift the program."

ASADA issued a statement commending the NRL for embracing an expanded anti-doping program.

ASADA chief executive Aurora Andruska said that the NRL's anti-doping program was as comprehensive as any in world sport and was tailored to meet both emerging threats in doping, while providing an ongoing deterrent against substances and methods prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"Rugby league already has a comprehensive anti-doping testing program, but the latest program now takes their commitment to a new level in protecting the sport from the threat of doping," Andruska said.

Smith added there was no update on ASADA's current investigation centring on the Cronulla Sharks, however he was assured things were progressing as quickly as possible.

In regards to allegations of assault levelled against South Sydney back-rower Ben Te'o, Smith said he was receiving daily updates and that the NRL's independent investigation was moving swiftly.

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