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Why the Willie Rioli verdict lies with the AFL

Liam Bartlett
Article image for Why the Willie Rioli verdict lies with the AFL

Australia’s sports anti-doping agency says it is up to the AFL to announce the Willie Rioli verdict.

The 25-year-old West Coast Eagles player has been provisionally suspended for the past 17 months for alleged urine substitution in a routine anti-doping test in 2019.

He faced a tribunal hearing in December and could face a ban of up to four years.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson told 6PR’s Liam Bartlett he doesn’t know why the process has taken so long.

“I don’t think any of us really understood the gravity of the situation at the time, and that the proceedings would take so long,” he said.

“At the moment our focus is fairly and squarely on Willie and his mental health.”

Simpson called for changes to the process to prevent further drawn-out cases in the future.

“Once we get through this we need to look at the process.”

“I think the process has been a lengthy one and one we probably need to get better at.”

Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe, said in a statement they have no powers to announce the outcome of Rioli’s case

“Sport Integrity Australia does not and cannot sanction athletes,” the statement reads.

“All athletes are sanctioned by their sport based on recommendations from the Sport Integrity Australia CEO and/or decisions made by sporting tribunals.

“The length of time taken for any particular anti-doping case to reach its conclusion is dependent on a wide variety of factors.

“These can range from delays in scientific analysis due to technical requirements through to requests from athletes for additional time to prepare their case.

“Sport Integrity Australia has always granted requests from athletes for additional time as it is important for any decision making process that the best possible case is presented by all parties, ensuring a fair and just outcome is reached.”

The AFL have been contacted for comment.

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(Photo: Daniel Carson/ Getty Images)

Liam Bartlett