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Former judge hired to complete ASADA AFL and NRL investigations
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has hired former federal court judge Garry Downes to help conclude up its long-running investigations into the AFL and NRL.
Just days short of the one year anniversary of the Australian Crime Commission's 'Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport' and the start of ASADA's investigations, Federal Sport Minister Peter Dutton announced extra funding to ASADA for the appointment.
Minister Dutton, said Downes would review ASADA's investigations and report back by the end of April.
However, there was still no indication when the doping inquiries, which threaten to mar both codes for a second season, would be finalised.
In a statement, Minister Dutton explained "ASADA's investigative process has been ongoing for nearly a year and is of unprecedented complexity.
"In light of this, it is appropriate that a suitably qualified person be engaged to assist Asada as the investigations approach conclusion.
"The review process will assist ASADA in finalising its investigations, but does not in itself guarantee finalisation on a fixed date."
NRL club Cronulla and AFL club Essendon have been at the centre of the ASADA investigations, with both reprimanded by their leagues for mismanagement of their team supplements programs.
Acting on an interim ASADA report, the AFL last year charged the Bombers with bringing the game into disrepute, disqualifying them from the 2013 finals and fining them $2 million.
It also suspended Bombers coach James Hird for a year, banned football operations boss Danny Corcoran for six months, fined Hird's coaching assistant Mark Thomson $30,000 and penalised the club top draft picks for two seasons.
The NRL took longer to censure the Sharks, but in December it fined them $1 million, handed coach Shane Flanagan a provisional one-year suspension and proposed former trainer Trent Elkin be deregistered for two years.
The club, as well as Flanagan and Elkin, submitted their responses to the NRL's breach notices last Wednesday and are believed to be appealing against the sanctions.
Players from both codes may still face suspensions when ASADA makes its final rulings.
20th September 2013 - ASADA TO SANCTION ESSENDON AFL PLAYERS AND OFFICIALS
7th February 2013 - DRUGS AND CRIME REPORT ROCKS AUSTRALIAN SPORT
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