Dave Smith - ASADA investigations
NRL CEO Dave Smith says the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation is ongoing and will be completed by the end of August.PT2M2S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ruz1 620 349 August 14, 2013
NRL boss Dave Smith is unconcerned that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has finalised its investigation into the AFL first and insists the fate of players will not be affected by what happens in the rival code.
While AFL officials were preparing for an announcement on the doping allegations at Essendon on Tuesday night, interviews with 31 NRL players are not due to be finalised until August 28.
No decision is likely to be made for weeks after about whether players are to be charged but Smith said he was satisfied with the way the six-month investigation was proceeding.
''I think with regard to Essendon it is a different code and a different set of circumstances,'' Smith said. ''I think from my own perspective and the NRL's perspective we have been pretty consistent in saying that we want the investigation to go as quickly as possible, we are not going to prejudge anybody and they are serious allegations.
''I have been consistent on that from the very first day this thing took off and that has been what is happening. The fact of the matter is that it is going according to plan and I am entirely comfortable with the way it is progressing and by the end of August we will have completed the interviews.''
Since interviews resumed on August 1, the NRL has had integrity officer Nick Weekes sit in with the players, their lawyers and ASADA investigators.
Smith said he was happy with the level of co-operation provided by the players.
''I think in life and society everyone deserves a fair go - it is really important,'' Smith said.
''Nobody is presumed guilty. What I have said through the interviews is pitch up, tell the truth and tell it well, and it will land where it lands. I am not going to prejudge anybody. If the allegations prove to be true then we will deal with it and we will deal with it appropriately. But if it proves to be otherwise we will deal with that situation as well.''
Smith said there was little more the game could do to deal with the allegations that players at Cronulla in 2011 and others at rival clubs had used banned substances.
''I really worry about the fans and making sure the fans continue to enjoy our game and we do everything we can to push forward with the investigation,'' he said.
''But you have got to keep that in perspective and we have got a great game, the competition is going well, we had a hugely successful State of Origin and I have just made a fantastic announcement about Touch Football Australia and rugby league coming together in a way that hasn't happened for 50 years.
''We have driven hard on integrity, we've introduced new drug testing measures, we are working hard on registration, we are working hard on accreditation so we are doing all the right things.
''The investigation started six months ago and it has been ongoing since then and we have been working hard with ASADA. There will be a conclusion but it will be done in a fair and proper and measured way.''