General Doping ban for international



Former Britain rugby league international Martin Gleeson and two officials at his ex-club Hull FC received bans totalling seven years for their part in a landmark doping case that has rocked the sport in Britain.
Gleeson tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine following Hull's Super League match against Salford on May 13, and was originally given a two-year ban.
The powerful 31-year-old centre, who played 20 times for Britain before winning six caps for England, later admitted lying about the circumstances leading to his positive test, implicating Hull chief executive James Rule and conditioning coach Ben Cooper in a coverup.
"It is the first time that tampering with the doping control process in this manner has resulted in a violation, and the first time that members of an athlete's entourage have been convicted of anti-doping rule violations in the UK," UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson said.
Gleeson received a three-year ban early today (NZ time), half of which is suspended so he is free to return on November 12, 2012. Cooper was banned for two years, with half suspended, and Rule was handed a two-year ban.
All three men are no longer at the northern club.
"This case has brought the sport of rugby league into disrepute," said Nigel Wood, chief executive of the Rugby Football League.
"We must applaud UK Anti-Doping for the hours of work they have put in to conduct a detailed and extensive investigation."
Gleeson has been a major name in Super League, which comprises teams from England, Wales and France, for the past decade after spells at St Helens, Warrington, hometown club Wigan and most recently Hull.
As recently as 2008, he captained England, scoring a hat-trick in a midseason international against France and two more against Wales.
Gleeson's last club match was the derby loss to Hull KR on June 5, with the club issuing a statement later that month saying the player had been granted leave on June 10 due to "a stress-related illness."
His contract was terminated in September - five months into his 18-month contract.