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Willie Rioli facing four-year ban by ASADA over sample tampering

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Willie Rioli has been provisionally suspended after allegedly tampering with a urine sample, and has been withdrawn from tomorrow’s semi-final against Geelong.

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon spoke to the media, stating that an A sample for an out-of-competition test on August 20 returned an adverse analytical finding for urine substitution.

He has been suspended indefinitely until the matter is resolved. Under ASADA regulations, the maximum penalty for urine substitution is four years.

ASADA informed the AFL of the findings yesterday and Rioli was notified by the AFL of the suspension last night as the team arrived in Melbourne for tomorrow night’s clash.

Rioli is ineligible to play in the AFL or WAFL while suspended, but can still train with Eagles until the “final determination of the asserted violation.”

The AFL’s official statement reads as follows.

“The AFL today confirmed that a mandatory provisional suspension had been handed to West Coast Eagles Player William Rioli following notification to him by ASADA of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) and a potential violation of the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code (Code).

“It is asserted that Rioli’s A sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for Urine Substitution being a Prohibited Method following an Out-of-Competition doping control test on 20 August 2019.

“ASADA informed the AFL yesterday of the results of the testing of the sample and Rioli was formally notified late last night after arriving in Melbourne.

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“Under the Code, ASADA conducts testing for the AFL as part of a comprehensive anti-doping program designed to protect the integrity of the AFL competition.

“The provisional suspension is effective immediately. Rioli will not be eligible to compete in AFL competitions or any WADA-compliant sport (including the WAFL) while provisionally suspended, but will be able to train, prior to the hearing and determination of the asserted Code violation.

“Rioli has been withdrawn from the West Coast Eagles team that will play against Geelong on Friday night.

“It is important that Rioli be provided a fair process. As a result, the AFL will not be providing further detail on this case at this time.”

West Coast have released the following statement.

“The West Coast Eagles have been made aware that Willie Rioli is the subject of an ASADA and AFL investigation.

“The club is extremely disappointed that one of our players has been provisionally suspended while a matter is being investigated and it will comply fully and openly with ASADA and the AFL through the process.

“The club is fully committed to supporting Willie during what is a personally distressing time.

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“Our primary concern is Willie’s health and welfare.

“As this is an on-going investigation the club, its staff and players can make no further comment until the investigation is completed.

“The West Coast Eagles fully supports the AFL and ASADA in its ideal of our game being drug-free.”

The 24-year-old has played 14 games this year, his second with the Eagles, averaging 13 disposals, three tackles and a goal a game.

He was originally selected with pick 52 in the 2016 draft.

Jack Petruccelle has reportedly been flown to Melbourne as an emergency for tomorrow’s semi-final.