TWO former Giants stars have been banned in a doping crackdown by the Rugby Football League.
Both Martin Gleeson and Ben Cooper were at Hull FC, and have been banned along with Hull chief executive James Rule.
UK Anti-Doping, which looks at substance abuse in sport, has confirmed that former player, the former chief executive and the former assistant coach, have been banned for a total of seven years following anti-doping rule violations.
Rule and Cooper were charged with conspiring with top centre Gleeson to cover up the circumstances which led to him testing positive for a banned stimulant.
Gleeson was charged by UK Anti-Doping in June 2011 with committing an anti-doping rule violation after he tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine the previous month.
Methylhexaneamine, a mild stimulant, was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list in 2010.
Gleeson was banned for two years by the National Anti-Doping Panel and later admitted lying to the Panel about the circumstances that led to him testing positive.
Rule and Cooper, a conditioning coach, were charged with being complicit in these lies, in violation of Rule 2.5 of the RFL’s Anti-Doping Rules.
Gleeson agreed to a three-year ban being imposed by the National Anti-Doping Panel, with half that ban suspended in recognition of his providing assistance to UK Anti-Doping.
Cooper agreed to a two-year ban, with half also suspended. Rule did not contest the charge made against him by UK Anti-Doping, and has been banned for two years by the National Anti-Doping Panel.
Gleeson began his career at the Giants in 1999 after returning to the UK from Australia, where he had been brought up.
He played 58 games for the club, scoring 18 tries, before leaving in 2001 to further a career which included St Helens, Warrington and Wigan.
Cooper joined Huddersfield in 2000, when the club merged with Sheffield, and featured regularly at centre or fullback until 2004.
He later returned as an assistant coach before following Jon Sharp to Hull.
UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson said: “This case marks two firsts for the anti-doping community.
“It is the first time that tampering with the doping control process in this manner has resulted in a violation, and the first time that members of an athlete’s entourage have been convicted of anti-doping rule violations in the UK.
“Once again, this highlights to the sporting community that UK Anti-Doping will aggressively pursue all types of anti-doping rule violation. While all eyes are on the London Games this year, we continue to work on behalf of clean athletes in every sport.”
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood added: “Such behaviour is unacceptable and this case has brought the sport of Rugby League into disrepute. We must applaud UK Anti-Doping for the hours of work they have put in to conduct a detailed and extensive investigation.
“We have assisted UK Anti-Doping throughout their investigation and these results show that doping of any kind will not be tolerated in our sport.”