Warne would face two-year ban, says AOC chief Coates
Published: Sunday, February 16, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: Cricket legend Shane Warne would face a two-year ban from competition if his positive drug test was assessed under Australian Olympic standards, according to the country's Games chief. Champion leg spinner Warne was forced home from the World Cup last week after testing positive for a banned diuretic in a random test by the Australian Sports Drugs Agency (ASDA) prior to the team's departure to South Africa earlier this month. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates said there was never any excuse for using a banned substance and he was unimpressed by the extenuating circumstances expected to be put forward by Warne in his defence at an impending Australian Cricket Board (ACB) hearing sometime this week. "Under the AOC's policy, which is strict liability and very limited extenuating circumstances, Shane would have great difficulty and I would think it would be a two- year penalty," Coates was quoted by the 'Sun Herald' newspaper on Sunday. "Nothing I have read would show me there are extenuating circumstances to make it less. But he is subject not to our (AOC) byelaw, he is subject to the rules of cricket which have been approved by the (government-backed) Australian Sports Commission." Both 'The Australian' national newspaper and 'Sydney's Daily Telegraph' reported on Friday that Warne, 33, took the diet pill after being nagged by his mother Brigitte. Warne has denied using performance-enhancing drugs. The ACB said Friday that Warne was facing a charge of using a "prohibited method", which draws a minimum two-year ban for the first offence. Warne faces being driven out of cricket if he cannot prove mitigating circumstances to the ACB's anti-doping panel for taking the substance which is used to aid weight loss but can also mask steroid use. Coates said there was never any excuse for using a banned substance. "It's not for me to give Shane Warne any message - he's not one of my athletes," he said. "Ignorance certainly isn't an excuse with us and our athletes understand that. You are responsible for what's in your body."