The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pound flays decision to let Warne play
WADA chief says'cheater'Warne just can't be let off

Melbourne: World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chairman Dick Pound has criticised the decision to allow Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne to play in charity matches during a one-year doping ban.

“I don’t understand what the ACA (Australian Cricketers’ Association) is doing,” Pound was quoted as saying in Thursday’s Sydney Morning Herald .

“It is doing everything in its power to allow a cheater to play. It is absolutely anti-ethical and against the spirit of the game. It used to be that the game of cricket was all about ethics. Cricket was so honest it produced the line ‘that is not cricket’, but now we have this situation where it is cricket.”

Warne, the second highest wicket-taker in Tests with 491 victims, was banned for 12 months after testing positive for diuretics in February.

Cricket Australia (CA), the national board, had said the 33-year-old should not be allowed to play any cricket. But last month it released a joint statement with the ACA, the players’ representative body, announcing that an independent arbitrator had cleared the way for Warne to play in charity matches.

WADA chief executive David Howman told The Sydney Morning Herald: “It is not a ban if he is training or playing. I find this ruling particularly bizarre because it is out of character with Australia’s strong anti-doping stance.

“You have had Ian Thorpe and other prominent Australian athletes who want a level playing field and want the cheats out of the game. But when there is an athlete who tests positive... I find it breathtaking that other players want him to play and want to play alongside of him.”

ACA chief executive Tim May released a statement defending the association’s stance. “The arbitration was not about Shane Warne, it was about whether or not CA has the ability under its anti-doping policy to extend a ban to testimonial and bona fide charity matches,” May said. “It has been proven – it does not.” (Reuters)

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