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Warne unfairly branded a drug cheat: May

Greg Buckle | February 24, 2003 11:08 IST

Leading players' representative Tim May said on Monday he felt his former Test team mate Shane Warne had been unfairly branded a drug cheat.

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief executive believes the Australian Cricket Board's anti-doping policy needs to be changed to draw a clear distinction between drug cheating and technical breaches.

The ACB's anti-doping committee banned Test cricket's second-leading wicket-taker for 12 months on Saturday after an eight-hour hearing on the previous day.

"Because a player makes a mistake, (it) doesn't mean he's a drug cheat," May told a news conference on Monday.

May said a player should be suspended for mistakenly taking a banned substance.

"The player should not escape scot-free but there should be a clear differentiation between the two breaches," May said.

However, Warne has already received a lesser sentence than the maximum penalty available which was a two-year ban.

The 33-year-old leg spinner, one of Wisden's five players of the 20th century, was stunned and immediately branded himself a victim of "anti-doping hysteria" in the biggest doping scandal to hit cricket.

Warne said on Monday he was reconsidering his planned appeal against the ban which has rocked world cricket after he tested positive to two banned diuretics in a fluid-reducing pill.

Australia's leading wicket-taker said he took the pill to look good for a television appearance last month. Diuretics can be used to mask other drugs.


May said: "We have a major concern with the drugs policy."

Players could prove to the ACB anti-doping committee they had not used a performance-enhancing drug or tried to mask such a drug, May said, but their reputations would still suffer under the current anti-doping policy.

"They're still guilty of a doping charge. Their reputations have to put up with an ongoing slur of being a drug cheat and they are deprived from earning their livelihood for a period of time," May said.

May said he was unconcerned by any possible criticism from officials such as World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chairman Dick Pound, who has spoken out in the past week about the need for Australia to be tougher on doping.

"If they (ACB) water down a drug code, and people have proven their innocence ... and the outcome is more common sense, is there something wrong with that?," May said.

ACB chief executive James Sutherland, who attended the hearing at the board's Melbourne headquarters last Friday, said Warne was not a drug cheat.

"It is one thing to have banned substances in a sample that you give and it is another to be a drug cheat," Sutherland told reporters on Sunday in Zimbabwe.

Australia play the home country in Bulawayo in a World Cup Pool A match on Monday.

"The evidence that came through in the hearing confirmed my thoughts that Shane Warne is no drug cheat," Sutherland added.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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Number of User Comments: 14

Sub: shane warne-too harsh to be treated like this

mr may is absolutely right.the sentence itself is too harsh for a mistake done unknowingly.since the laws are not clear and its the first instance ...

Posted by jasminder singh

Sub: Warne

It's a correct decision to ban Warne. Had it been an Asian , he wud have been crucified by now. Warne deserves it and so ...

Posted by KK

Sub: The system stinks

Shane Warne has been ruined by the world's oldest professionals- politicians. A player like Warne, quirky, controversial and enormously talented has made a lot of ...

Posted by Vikramaditya Varma

Sub: Think Positive.. Dont get into Negative Aspects

Before we get into things like saying warne is wrong or bad, we should first of all unanimously appreciate the ACB for having a policy ...

Posted by shankar

Sub: Warne Unfairly branded a drug cheat

I am surprised how the Australian PR Machine has gone into overtime defending Warne. Had it been a Sachin Tendulkar, would they have been so ...

Posted by Shankar Srinivasan


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