Maitua accepts two year penalty

Cronulla forward Reni Maitua has today accepted a two-year penalty for returning a positive drug test under the World Anti-Doping Authority Code.

An Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority test taken on May 1, 2009, revealed the presence of the banned substance Clenbuterol, which is prohibited under the WADA list.

NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, today accepted Reni’s request that the penalty be imposed without a hearing. This is provided for under both the NRL and WADA rules.

“The penalty is a stark reminder of the need for all players to be vigilant about any substance they take,” Mr Gallop said.

“The NRL remains committed to a stringent anti-doping programme.

“Reni has paid a high price but the manner in which he has dealt with the issue today is a definite step in the right direction.”

Reni has been provisionally suspended since May 20, 2009, and will be free to resume playing from midnight on May 19, 2011.

Reni Maitua today issued the following statement:

“I have decided not to contest the finding that was a result of out-of-competition testing, whereby Clenbuterol has been discovered in the samples I provided the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

“Prior to this result I, like all NRL players, have been tested on many occasions and I have never had a positive test in my NRL career.

“Until I received the results of the testing, I had not ever heard of Clenbuterol. I am still not aware what it does or what it is claimed to do.

“I did not knowingly ever consume this substance or any other banned substance. I have no idea how this substance came to appear in my sample but I accept that it has.

“I understand my ignorance or lack of any intention on my part to breach anti-doping guidelines is no excuse.

“As a professional NRL player under the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy, I have a responsibility to ensure that I do not digest, even by accident, a prohibited substance.

“I accept that I have breached the policy and, as much as it pains me, I accept the punishment I shall suffer.

“I hope that by the approach I have adopted in not contesting this finding, I have saved my family, the Sharks, their fans and the NRL from further adverse publicity and suffering.

“It is too early at this stage to even contemplate whether at the end of the ban I would seek to play again in the NRL.

“I would like to thank all those coaches, players and supporters who have assisted me in my rugby league career.

“I reserve a special thanks to my family and partner Natalie who have endured undeserved scrutiny but have always stood by me.

“I realise that many of you may feel that I have let you down and, if so, I apologise for this.”