Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan has said that he is happy with the investigative process which was undertaken regarding the anti-doping violation committed by James Cronin.
Cronin received a one-month ban after testing positive for the banned substances, prednisolone and prednisone, after Munster’s Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 last November.
Cronin’s ban is considered lenient by some, particularly Sport Ireland. But it came as a result of the investigative process which ruled that the failed test was unintentional due to a dispensing error by the pharmacy in question.
Flanagan spoke to the media today where he was quizzed on the matter and he states that Munster will implement additional safeguards, including educational programmes, as a result of the incident.
“Well, I think we carried out a very thorough process. EPCR carried out a thorough process and subsequently Munster Rugby and the IRFU carried out a review of our processes,” Flanagan said.
“Subsequently, we had an additional review meeting with Sport Ireland; with John Treacy and Dr Una May. And I think we believe we can always learn and improve, we’ve looked at additional safeguards that can be implemented. Ultimately, the responsibility will always fall on the player. So, it’s very much around reminding players of their own duties and responsibilities in terms of taking any medications.
“I think ultimately we’re happy the process reviewed the facts, that it was a comprehensive and thorough process. We’re seeing it as a positive in terms of highlighting the anti-doping processes and practices that are in place in ensuring we have a clean sport in rugby. It’s also a reminder to all players and athletes in terms of their own responsibilities.”
Flanagan also added that the incident has caused considerable stress to Cronin and although the anti-doping violation was unintentional, the failed test will be associated with him for the rest of his career.
“It has been (stressful), it has impacted his career. James has received a doping ban and that will always be associated with him.
“I think the education piece, we’re still working on the details with EPCR in terms of when that takes place and so on but I think the key message is that in James’ case – and it’s one that will be understood by all players – is that ultimately the players have to take responsibility for what they ingest and put into their system.
“In terms of additional safeguards that we are looking to implement on the back of this, it is mainly about the verification process but also increasing the education contact with the players to reinforce that message that they have to be continuously questioning, continuously aware in this particular area.”