Updated: Wednesday, 05 March 2014 13:29 | By Agence France-Presse

Sharks' supplement fines, bans upheld

Australia's crisis-hit National Rugby League team Cronulla Sharks Wednesday failed in a bid to overturn a Aus$1 million (US$895,000) fine and coach Shane Flanagan's 12-month suspension over a supplements scandal.

Sharks' supplement fines, bans upheld

File photo of a Rugby League ball, taken 14 October 2007 - by Dean Treml

After considering written submissions and other evidence, NRL chief Dave Smith confirmed the club breached the Code of Conduct in relation to its supplements programme during 2011.

It follows provisional findings handed down last December.

"My overriding concern has always been the health and well-being of our players, and my decision recognises that rugby league will not accept practices that put our players at unnecessary risk," Smith said in a statement.

"While I recognise that this is a difficult time for everybody involved, it is important I take action to ensure proper processes are in place to protect our players and the strength of our game." 

The punishment followed an investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit into the club's supplements programme, where players were allegedly given prohibited substances such as peptides.

The Integrity Unit findings said Flanagan and the then head of strength and conditioning Trent Elkin were responsible for a number of code breaches, including ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.  

The Integrity Unit probe was sparked by an investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) into several Cronulla players for allegedly using banned drugs two seasons ago.

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