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The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has advised the NRL that it has completed the initial phase of its current investigation and that it will this week issue notices formally requesting interviews with approximately 30 current NRL players who may be able to assist with further information.
ASADA has informed the NRL that aside from some well-documented concerns at Cronulla, its clear focus is now on whether individuals, or groups of individuals, may have acted outside of club programs.
The move follows an initial investigative phase that ASADA advises has included the extensive analysis of records.
Forthcoming interviews with players and other identified witnesses are expected to take place over the next four to six weeks. Both ASADA and the NRL stress that a request for interview does not mean that a person is under direct suspicion.
“This is the most comprehensive picture ASADA has been able to provide to date and it is the result of some significant work on their part,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr Dave Smith, said today.
“ASADA has made it clear that we are not looking at orchestrated issues involving a number of clubs.
“Their inquiries are focusing more towards a number of individuals who have acted independently.
“People need to remember that ASADA is still in an investigative stage and at this point we are not talking about any breach having been established nor any players or officials being charged.
“The investigators have also been at pains to point out that the request to interview around 30 players does not mean all of those players are under direct suspicion.
“Nobody should be pre-judged and the NRL will not stand down any player until there is sufficient evidence for an infraction notice to be issued.”
ASADA and the NRL will continue to work closely together, with formal meetings reviewing progress to take place weekly.