Warne returns home, says he is innocent of drug abuse

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2003, 0:16 [IST]
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Sydney: Australian legend Shane Warne insisted he had never taken a performance enhancing drug as he arrived home from the World Cup Wednesday after he tested positive for a banned diuretic. Cricket's greatest leg spinner faces being driven out of cricket if he cannot prove mitigating circumstances for taking the substance which is used to aid weight loss.

Warne was forced to leave the World Cup Tuesday after the results of a test by the Australian Sports Drugs Agency (ADSA) before the team flew to South Africa earlier this month emerged. Warne told journalists on his arrival at Melbourne airport that he has never taken and never will take performance-enhancing drugs. "I am limited in what I can say tonight because it is important I don't compromise the formal hearing that is coming up," he said reading from a prepared statement.

"I can confirm that the fluid tablets I took before appearing to announce my retirement from One-day cricket (on January 22) was given to me by my mum. "Contrary to speculation, taking it had nothing to do with the shoulder injury or for masking any banned substance. I do not, never have and never will, take any performance enhancing drugs." Warne said he was unaware when he would appear before an Australian Cricket Board (ACB) anti-doping committee to plead his case. He did not take journalists' questions at the brief airport media conference.

Under the ACB's anti-doping policy, Warne's actions could fall into two categories and attract two different penalties. It could either be classified as a "prohibited substance" attracting a maximum three-month ban, or as a "prohibited method", which draws a minimum two-year ban for the first offence. ASDA said on Wednesday there was little chance of Warne's second urine sample being free of drugs. ASDA chairman Brian Sando said it was rare for a 'B' sample result to differ from the initial sample, known as the 'A' sample.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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