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Hull FC trio banned

Former Hull FC centre Martin Gleeson and chief executive James Rule have been banned following an investigation into anti-doping violations.
Hull FC trio banned
by NRL

Former Hull FC centre Martin Gleeson and chief executive James Rule have been banned following an investigation into anti-doping violations.

UK Anti-Doping today confirmed that Gleeson, Rule and former assistant coach Ben Cooper had been handed suspensions from the game totalling seven years between them.

The body revealed Rule and Cooper were charged with conspiring with Gleeson to cover up the circumstances which led to the player testing positive for a banned stimulant.

Gleeson, who had only a short spell at the KC Stadium, tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine after a Super League game against Salford City Reds on May 13.

The 31-year-old joined Hull in April after being released by Wigan Warriors and made only six appearances for the club.

UKAD claim Gleeson later admitted lying about the matter and banned him for three years, half of which will be suspended.

The ban has also been backdated to June but will not expire until November 2012, meaning the career of the former Warrington Wolves, St Helens and Huddersfield Giants star could be over.

A statement from UK Anti-Doping, who conduct drugs tests on the behalf of the Rugby Football League, read: "Mr 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.

"Mr Cooper agreed to a two-year ban, with half also suspended.

"Mr 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."

Rule and Cooper left Hull in July, following the club's takeover by former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson.

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.

"In a hearing before the National Anti-Doping Panel, athletes and their entourage are obliged to tell the truth, or the system will fail, and this case makes clear the penalties for not doing so.

"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.

"I would like to thank the RFL for their support and assistance throughout this process which has reinforced Rugby League's ongoing commitment to tackling the issue of doping in sport."

The RFL believe the case highlights their strong anti-drugs policy.

Chief executive Nigel Wood said: "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."

Hull are yet to comment on the issue.

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