By Peter Ryan
September 12, 2019 — 4.30pm
West Coast Eagles premiership player Willie Rioli has been provisionally banned under the AFL’s anti-doping code and will not play in the semi-final against Geelong on Friday night.
Rioli provisionally banned under anti-doping code
A ban is a formal or informal prohibition of something. Bans are formed for the prohibition of activities within a certain political territory. Some see this as a negative act (equating it to a form of censorship or discrimination) and others see it as maintaining the “status quo”. Some bans in commerce are referred to as embargoes. Ban is also used as a verb similar in meaning to “to prohibit”.
Rioli is accused of tampering with urine samples being collected by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority. He has not returned a positive drug test.
The AFL’s general counsel Andrew Dillon described the incident as an “adverse analytical finding for urine substitution” and said it could carry a penalty as severe as a four-year ban.
The sample was taken on August 20, two days after the Eagles played Richmond in their round 22 clash at the MCG. ASADA informed the league of the results on Wednesday, and Rioli was notified laste on Wednesday night after arriving in Melbourne.
The AFL released a statement on Thursday saying Rioli would not be eligible to compete in AFL competitions or any WADA-compliant sport (including the WAFL) while provisionally suspended.
However, he will be able to train, “prior to final determination of the asserted code violation”.
The league said Rioli had been withdrawn from the West Coast Eagles team that will play against Geelong on Friday night.
West Coast released a statement on Thursday afternoon saying the club would “fully and openly” comply with ASADA and the AFL.
“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 statement said.
“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 ongoing investigation the club, its staff and players can make no further comment until the investigation is completed.
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Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.