Eagles star suspended in drug test shock
WEST Coast Eagles star Willie Rioli is set to miss Friday night's preliminary final against Geelong after an irregularity under the AFL's anti-doping code.
Rioli had not given a positive test to banned substances but was accused of tampering with urine samples collected by ASADA.
Rioli was not named in the side and AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said in front of the media there had been an "adverse analytical finding and potential violation of the Australian Football anti-doping code".
"Following an out of competition doping control test on 20 August this year, it is asserted that Rioli's A sample returned an adverse analytical finding for urine substitution which is a prohibited method under the code," he said.
"ASADA informed the AFL yesterday of the results of the testing of the sample and Rioli was formally notified late last night when he came to Melbourne. Under the code, ASADA conducts testing for the AFL as part of a comprehensive doping program designed to protect the integrity of the AFL competition. The provisional suspension is effective immediately.
"Rioli will not be eligible to compete in AFL competitions or any WADA compliant sport, including the WAFL while provisionally suspended. He will be able to train prior to final determination of the asserted code violation. Rioli has been withdrawn from the West Coast Eagles team that will play Geelong tomorrow night.
"It is important that Rioli is provided a fair process. As a result, the AFL won't be providing further detail on this case at the time."
Dillon said the provisional suspension will last until the matter is finalised with the maximum penalty of four years for the violation of the code.
In regard to the Willie Rioli announcement, he has not tested positive to a banned substance. The AFL presser is that his sample allegedly shows urine substitution. So it is more a tampering /substitution allegation.— Richard Ings (@ringsau) September 12, 2019
A most serious allegation.
To clarify, test suggests sample was allegedly tampered with, not substituted with another person’s urine. Investigation pending but Rioli can not play AFL or WAFL under provisional ban. Can train.— Ryan Daniels (@FootyRhino) September 12, 2019
The West Coast Eagles released a statement of their website.
"The West Coast Eagles have been made aware that Willie Rioli is the subject of an ASADA and AFL investigation," the statement read.
"The club is extremely disappointed that one of our players has been provisionally suspended while a matter is being investigated and it will comply fully and openly with ASADA and the AFL through the process.
"The club is fully committed to supporting Willie during what is a personally distressing time.
Our primary concern is Willie's health and welfare.
"As this is an on-going investigation the club, its staff and players can make no further comment until the investigation is completed.
"The West Coast Eagles fully supports the AFL and ASADA in its ideal of our game being drug free."
The AFL Players' Association said they would "continue to provide support to Willie and the club throughout the process".
Jack Petruccelle has flown to Melbourne as a replacement for Rioli for the final against Geelong.