Softball New Zealand have issued a "stern warning'' to players that drug use will not be tolerated after "a very small number'' of Black Sox squad members tested positive for cannabis.
SNZ chief executive Tony Giles confirmed today that positive urine samples were returned during internal drug tests at the Black Sox training camp held at Trentham Army Camp between December 13 and 15 last year.
The internal test indicated "a very small number of team members returned positive urine samples for a recreational drug, Giles said.
Fairfax Media understands the drug was cannabis.
The SNZ statement did not specify how many players returned positive tests.
Giles said the drug testing was handled by the management via a contractor and was not part of Drug Free Sport NZ.
He said the results were followed by discussions directly with the players concerned, and with the Black Sox leadership group. Softball New Zealand’s no tolerance policy was reiterated to, and agreed upon by the entire playing group.
"The matter was handled swiftly and professionally by the Black Sox management team at the time and expectations have been set to ensure no further incidents of this nature occur in the future.
"It is important to stress that this was an internal test and is Softball NZ taking a forward step to be aggressive against drugs in our sport. What occurred was unfortunate, but taken care of straight away with a stern warning to all players that this will not be tolerated and the consequences from a Drug Free Sport NZ test are long term.''
Fairfax understands that the players who tested positive in December were clean when re-tested at the end of January.
The revelation took some of the gloss off the Black Sox winning the People's Choice public vote award at last night's Halberg Awards for the best sporting moment of 2013 when they won a record sixth world championship title in Auckland last March.
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