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The NRL has taken another critical step in strengthening Rugby League against emerging threats in world sport with the introduction of a new state-of-the-art drug testing program.
The new testing measures include an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program, a pioneering new test developed during the London Olympics to detect Human Growth Hormone (hGH) and increased testing for peptides.
The announcement today follows the appointment of Nick Weeks as the NRL General Manager of Integrity and General Counsel, as well as the establishment of Rugby League’s first dedicated Integrity and Compliance Unit.
“We will do everything we can to have a drug-free game and the new testing measures are just part of our commitment to fans and players to placing integrity and compliance at the forefront of Rugby League,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr Dave Smith, said today.
“Under the guidance of Tony Whitlam QC we established the NRL Integrity and Compliance Unit and we have been working with ASADA to identify the emerging threats in world sport.
“We have now developed a comprehensive new testing program that responds to and minimises these risks.
“The ABP tests are different from traditional tests as they look at the effects of doping, rather than directly detecting the prohibited substances or methods used. This means that even if a substance has left the body, the tests will detect if it was there.”
The introduction of the new testing measures follows consultation between the NRL, ASADA, NRL Clubs and is supported by the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).
“Having actively consulted with the NRL, the RLPA supports the inclusion in ASADA’s NRL testing program of Athlete Biological Passport testing as best practice, as complementary to traditional testing and as a further deterrent to doping activities,” RLPA Chief Executive, Mr David Garnsey, said today.
“The RLPA is, and has always been, prepared to work with the NRL to confront threats to the integrity of Rugby League.
“Players willingly participate in testing programs because they want their sport to be clean and because they are committed to doing the right thing for the game and all of those who support it.
“It is also critical that the fight against doping prioritises education, prevention and respect for the rights of players and is not just focussed on testing and investigation. We will continue to work with the NRL in these areas.”
The new testing measures include:
An Athlete Biological Passport program;
Increased testing for Human Growth Hormone with samples sent to London to take advantage of the latest technology developed for the 2012 Olympics;
Increased testing for peptides with samples sent to Cologne to take advantage of leading international developments in peptide testing.