Doping scandal hits Stade Francais and Meyer
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Aside from the high-profile player exodus and disastrous Top14 season, now Heyneke Meyer’s club Stade Francais have to deal with a doping scandal.
Stade Francais’ South African lock Hendre Stassen has been provisionally suspended while he organises his defence in a doping case brought by the French Agency for Fighting Doping.
The serious development comes just a week after reports emerged that the 21-year-old had allegedly been involved in a fightback in his native country.
The lock, who broke through at the Bulls before signing for Stade Francais for the 2018/19 season, was called for an unannounced check for the Montpellier-Stade match on May 19.
It has now been confirmed that Stassen was temporarily suspended on July 10 by the French Anti-Doping Agency.
Without pre-judging the rest of the procedure and pending further investigation and completion of the process, Stade has decided to allow Stassen to take his time away from the club to organise his defence and see the issue through to its conclusion.
In a statement by the club coached by former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, Stade said: “Stade Français Paris attaches the utmost importance to sports ethics and makes the fight against doping a constant priority.
“Thus, at the disposal of the players, a medical team provides personalised, professional monitoring of all staff. The club will cooperate with all relevant bodies and draw the conclusions of the proceedings,” it read.
📃 Communiqué officiel – Hendré Stassen
— Stade Français Paris (@SFParisRugby) July 12, 2019
It was July 9 when World Rugby confirmed there were four anti-doping rule violations within the elite sevens and 15s environment during its 2018 testing programme which comprised 2,236 tests at men’s and women’s sevens and 15s international representative level.
One player was sanctioned for four years for Drostanolone and another four-year sanction was handed-down for Methandienone and Stanozolol. Two further cases are pending.
World Rugby’s testing programme is run in partnership with unions, national and regional anti-doping organisations, with 66 per cent of tests conducted out of competition in line with the international federation’s intelligence and risk-based approach in elite rugby.
An additional 259 samples were collected to supplement World Rugby’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) programme.