A surprise verdict will allow banned doper Willie Rioli to return for West Coast this season.
The AFL confirmed in September, 2019, Rioli tested positive for a metabolite of cannabis two weeks after being stood down for reportedly tampering with his own drugs test.
He has not played since, but his 18-months of exile now has a light at the end of the tunnel.
In a painfully drawn out process, Rioli’s verdict from Sports Integrity Australia (SIA), formerly ASADA, was only confirmed recently and was only revealed on Thursday. following a hearing in December.
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According to reports, the AFL will on Thursday confirm Rioli has been handed a two-year ban, back-dated to the time he accepted a provisional suspension in 2019.
He had been facing a potential four-year ban. But the surprise verdict announced this week reveals Rioli could return to play for the Eagles as early as August.
He remains contracted with West Coast through to the end of the 2022 AFL season and will reportedly be cleared to train with the club for several months prior to the date when he will become available for selection again towards the end of the 2021 season.
Willie Rioli will get a chance to save his career.Source:Supplied
According to reports SIA are satisfied with the result and will not challenge the ban.
Sports Integrity Australia announced in a statement last month that it was up to the AFL’s Anti-Doping Tribunal to announce the verdict of Rioli’s case.
“Under our legislation and the World Anti-Doping Code, Sport Integrity Australia is prevented from disclosing information regarding cases except in specific circumstances,” the statement claimed.
“Only the athlete or the athlete’s representative has the right to discuss or talk about their case in public prior to its conclusion outside these circumstances.”
Rioli gave evidence via video link during his December trial.
It’s alleged Rioli spat fluid from an energy drink into his urine sample, which the forward claims was due to dehydration and frustration at being unable to provide a sample.
The saga is finally over 18 months later.
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