16 September 2016

ASADA investigating if rugby player has breached ban

An Australian rugby player currently banned for importing and using performance-enhancing drugs may be in even more hot water, after a Facebook post caught the eye of local anti-doping investigators. Nick Mastro – full name Nicholas Mastrodomenico – is currently serving concurrent four-year bans for doping violations from both the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and the National Rugby League (NRL).

The ARU ban is for the trafficking, attempting trafficking, using and attempting to use testosterone, testosterone esters and trenbolone. The NRL ban is for the trafficking, presence and use of trenbolone, 17a-trenbolone and testosterone (sustanon 250). Both bans expire in March next year.

But the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is investigating the possibility Mastro may have breached his ban by competing earlier this month. Shortly after the University of Wollongong club won the Illawarra Rugby premiership, a Facebook user named Nick Mastro posted a picture of himself in the team uniform and wearing a winner’s medallion. However, a simple case of mistaken identity is a possibility.

ASADA has told The Sports Integrity Initiative it is investigating the matter, and that a breach of the ARU’s anti-doping policy may have occurred. Under the rules of the ARU, any player who continues to play, despite being banned, shall be disqualified and ‘a new period of Ineligibility equal in length up to the original period of Ineligibility shall be added to the end of the original period’.

It is unclear what sanctions the University club could face, if the Mastro on Facebook turns out to be the banned player. The club’s grand final win has already survived one investigation into wrongdoing. It was found to have fielded an extra player for 90 seconds. No action was taken against the club as the violation was considered unintentional.

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