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Cronulla Sharks parties to challenge NRL over supplements scandal breach notice

January 31, 2014

The Cronulla Sharks, suspended coach Shane Flanagan and banned trainer Trent Elkin are understood to have each challenged NRL breach notices issued before Christmas.

Elkin, now with the Parramatta Eels, Cronulla and Flanagan, have challenged the sanctions issued after the NRL completed its governance review of issues at the Sharks during 2010 and 2011.

Cronulla was hit with a $1 million fine, Flanagan with a one-year ban and Elkin with a two-year ban.

On 17th December, the NRL issued a statement that read "findings have identified serious failures on the part of the club and certain individuals who had a responsibility to safeguard the health and welfare of its players."

In their response, the Sharks declared they would "vigorously" defend the charges while Sharks skipper Paul Gallen said that Flanagan intended to contest his ban.

In announcing it had received the submissions on Wednesday, the NRL gave no timeframe for when it would make a final decision.

Its latest statement read "NRL Chief Executive, Mr Dave Smith, has today received submissions from the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Club, Mr Shane Flanagan and Mr Trent Elkin regarding the breach notices issued on December 17 last year.

"Now that those submissions have been received, Mr Smith will take as much time as is needed to give full and proper consideration to the responses made by the Sharks club, Mr Flanagan and Mr Elkin before a final determination is made."

Once that decision is handed down - if it is not to the liking of the Sharks, Flanagan or Elkin - the matter could be dragged through the courts, and continue for throughout the 2014 NRL season, cast a shadow over another rugby league campaign.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into the issue remains ongoing almost a year since the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) issued its report, 'Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport', into the widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport as well as links with organised crime.

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