Warne takes a Pounding
by CricketArchive staff reporter

Player:SK Warne
Event:England in Australia 2006/07

DateLine: 4th December 2006


Shane Warne has been dragged into a fresh drug controversy with world anti-doping boss Dick Pound questioning the spinner's public reasons for taking a "fluid tablet" in 2003. Pound takes a heavy swipe at Warne in a book to be released today, saying the World Anti-Doping Agency would have given him longer than the 12-month ban he received from Cricket Australia. He also attacks Australians for their heavy condemnation of rival athletes who test positive but the light sentences handed out to their own. Warne comes under attack from Pound in a chapter of Inside Dope on the worst excuses he has heard for positive drug tests. "Cricketer Shane Warne said his mother had given him a diuretic so that he would look slimmer on television, without mentioning the shoulder injury from which he was trying to recover," Pound said. ``The diuretic was a masking agent that could have hidden the possible use of steroids." Warne, currently playing the second Test in Adelaide, has refused to comment on Pound's allegations. While he passed off the drug he used as a "fluid tablet", he tested positive for diuretic substances hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride. He received a one-year ban from Cricket Australia. Warne initially declared his intention to fight the ban but later changed his mind, saying it was the Australian way to "take it in the chin". However, it also emerged that apart from having the ban downgraded when the appeal went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, it could also have been increased to the two-year ban considered mandatory around the world. Cricket Australia described his testimony – and that of his mother – as "vague and inconsistent". Pound called Warne "extremely lucky". "I was very disappointed with the one-year ban that the Australians gave to Warne," he said. "I think you only have to look at what the Australians say about the issue of doping and then look at what they do when their own sportsmen fail tests. Warne was extremely lucky but, at the time, it was not a decision in which WADA had any right to intervene." WADA was so concerned by CA's light punishment, and similar decisions around the world, that rules have been changed to allow WADA to step in if it believes a sentence is too light. Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young on Sunday defended the penalty. "We went through a detailed process with a panel consisting of three experts including Justice Williams from Queensland and their findings were published in considerable detail and have been on public record for three years," Young said. "We are satisfied that we went through a rigorous and appropriate process under the anti-doping laws as they stood at that time." Pound said WADA was keeping a close eye on the drug sentences currently being appealed by Pakistan bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif. Warne denied taking steroids at the time of his bust, claiming: "I feel I am a victim of the anti-doping hysteria." Pound insists sport must take a stand against drug cheats. "The rules are all pretty clear and the rules are being broken and that has to be confronted," he said. "It is the biggest issue facing sport. If it doesn't get better, parents are going to stop putting their kids in competitive sport. It is a matter of cheating. If you are using these drugs, you are cheating." Among the other "worst excuses" Pound lists are Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor, who blamed a CIA plot for the drug bust that ended his career, and US sprinter Dennis Mitchell, who blamed his high testosterone levels on drinking beer and rampant sex with his wife.


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