Drug scam: Warne family close ranks on tainted Shane

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne (Australia): Shane Warne's family closed ranks on Thursday and pleaded to be left alone as the embattled cricketer prepared to mount a defence against his positive test at a drugs hearing. Warne's brother Jason, who manages the leg spinner, said no-one in the family would comment further on the controversy. Warne returned home from the World Cup late on Wednesday after he tested positive for a banned diuretic used to aid weight-loss after a test by the Australian Sports Drugs Agency (ADSA) before the Australian team flew to South Africa earlier this month.

He faces being driven out of cricket if he cannot prove mitigating circumstances following the positive drug test. Under the Australian Cricket Board's (ACB) 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.

Warne met for several hours with lawyer Ian McCubbin at his home on Thursday and shunned all requests for interviews. Warne is awaiting the result of his 'B' sample urine test, which could become public on Friday. ASDA officials say the 'B' sample is also likely to return positive for a banned diuretic. He is likely to appear before an Australian Cricket Board (ACB) anti-doping committee. Jason and Shane's mother Brigitte might give evidence at the hearing, with Warne confirming that a pill provided by his mum led to the positive test result.

"We understand there is a lot of public interest in this story, including Shane and our mum," Jason said in the statement released on Thursday. "We, Shane and I, are always very open and happy to talk to media. "But at this stage, my family and I cannot make any further comment as we do not want to influence or compromise the hearing which is coming up in any way. "My mum obviously cannot comment for the same reason - she is obviously upset about the whole situation and we ask you to respect her privacy at this tough time. "There will be no further comment from anyone in the family until after the hearing. "So please can you show some respect and leave us go about our day-to-day while we try to deal with the situation as best we can."

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