Two Kiwi players suspended for doping offences
NEWS: Two players have been banned, following New Zealand Rugby judicial committee hearings into anti-doping charges brought by Drug-Free Sports New Zealand.
The charges were brought against Chris Johnston (Hawke’s Bay) and Blake Roff (Southland) and stem from the same MedSafe investigation into the operation of the website NZ Clenbuterol in 2014 and 2015 that has resulted in bans for several rugby players and other athletes since 2017.
Johnston was suspended for two years after he admitted two violations of the Sports Anti-Doping Rules (possession and attempted use of a prohibited substance) when he bought Clenbuterol online in September 2014.
He claimed the substance was not used but accepted it was his responsibility to consider anti-doping rules before making the purchase. The Committee backdated the two-year suspension by 12 months to 9 October 2017, to account for the delay in proceedings and Johnston’s timely admission.
Roff was a registered club player in Southland when he purchased Clenbuterol in December 2014. Roff admitted the possession and use (or attempted use) of the prohibited substance but told the Committee that he purchased it in the hope it would assist with his asthma condition.
The Committee imposed to a two-year suspension, backdated six months to 29 May 2018 to take account of delays in the allegations being heard. While Roff did admit the allegations, he was not entitled to further backdating under the Rules since he had played at least one match (in Scotland) after being confronted with the allegations.