Melbourne (Australia): Australian Cricket Board chief executive James Sutherland has come to Shane Warne's defence, saying the champion leg spinner is not a drugs cheat.
As Warne and his advisers kept the cricket world guessing on Monday as to whether he would appeal his 12-month drugs ban, he won an ally in Sutherland. Sutherland said evidence at Warne's hearing into testing positive to two banned diuretics proved he was not a drugs cheat. "It is one thing to have banned substances in a sample. It is another thing to be a drug cheat," Sutherland said from South Africa on Monday.
"The evidence that came through in the hearing confirmed my thoughts that Shane Warne is not a drug cheat. "A lot of mud will stick for this in that if you are found guilty of a doping offence a lot of people will say you have breached the code so you are a drug cheat," he said. "But I think that's unfortunate if that happens. I think we all know and understand some people may regard it as that but they won't understand the facts - the facts coming into the hearing and the evidence at the hearing confirmed my theory."
The ACB is set to release the findings of Warne's drugs hearing in full this week regardless of whether he appeals. ACB spokesman Peter Young said the ACB was reconsidering its decision to hold back publication of the anti-doping committee's full judgment after talking with the body, which would hear any possible appeal. The ACB had been waiting until Warne had appealed or decided against appealing to the National Sports Disputes Centre, saying it wanted to ensure Warne's rights to a fair hearing weren't compromised.
"We're progressively coming to the view after having spoken to the National Sports Disputes Centre that it is possible to publish it without jeopardising the appeal process," Young said. "There are some mechanical issues to work through, but we do plan to publish it as soon as we can. When we do publish it, we will do so with full transparency." Copyright AFP 2001