Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington has said that hooker Paul Aiton has finally been contacted by the Australian Anti-Doping Agencey (ASADA), and admits there is “concern” over a potential ban for the star after new reports emerged Down Under.
Aiton was named as one of 17 past and present Cronulla Sharks players who were facing investigation over the club’s controversial supplements program of 2011 around the time of the Challenge Cup final – but he, the Rhinos and the RFL insisted that there had been no contact from ASADA at the time.
Since then, a number of the players involved, including Cronulla captain Paul Gallen, have taken backdated suspensions which run out on November 23 this year. Aiton was not contacted at the time, and is now believed to be facing a two-year ban after he didn’t take part in talks with ASADA – even though he says there was no option to do so.
And Hetherington told the Yorkshire Post that the club will be in contact with the RFL as to what their next move will be, admitting it has come completely out of the blue for the Rhinos.
“He has now been contacted by ASADA and I will meet Paul and will be making contact with the RFL, as the game’s governing body, to understand what their stance is,” Hetherington said.
“In Australia the NRL and players’ association over there dealt with all the legal representation for the players. I will be asking the RFL what their role and position will be in this.
“We also don’t know what jurisdiction ASADA have in England. The club has not been involved at all – this has come out of the blue.
“It is a concern, when it is something that goes back to 2011 and you have absolutely no knowledge or involvement at all and then it crops up like this.”