League takes swift steps to clear its good name

Three leading First Division players are all facing the possibility of severe disciplinary action over the events of a turbulent weekend for the code.

David Watson and David Myers of Bradford Northern will be called before the Rugby League's board of directors as soon as they have had chance to study a report from the Sports Council, which carries out the sport's drug-testing procedures.

The two players will be accused of refusing to supply a sample after Bradford's victory over Hull on Sunday. Under the League's regulations, that is an offence in itself. They were selected for testing under new procedures, which permit certain players to be targeted, although most tests will continue to be made on a random basis.

Watson, a New Zealand international who was banned for three months after testing positive for cannabis while playing for Halifax in 1992, was also tested after the Challenge Cup tie against Leeds a week earlier, but the Sports Council was not satisfied with the sample provided then.

The League has stepped up its testing regime since Doncaster's South African full-back, Jamie Bloem, tested positive for an anabolic steroid in December.

Bloem was later reprimanded over a newspaper article in which he claimed steroid use was widespread, but a meeting of clubs last week agreed to bring in a more intensive regime, which will, according to the League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, eventually result in every player being tested.

The Whitehaven prop Dennis Smith was banned for six months last week after showing traces of ephedrine, taken in a cold remedy. Whitehaven are now considering an appeal, but Myers and Watson could find themselves treated more severely if the board finds against them.

The Bradford chairman, Chris Caisley, already investigating claims that the club's coach, Peter Fox, made an obscene gesture at a disgruntled fan, said that his board would be discussing the matter. "If they are in breach of the regulations, they will have to risk the consequences," he said of his two players.

Rugby league's generally excellent record as a drug-free and disciplined sport took another knock over the weekend when Featherstone Rovers' Kiwi international, Brendon Tuuta, was accused of striking an 11-year-old, partially disabled female supporter at the end of the match at Workington.

The Workington chairman, Kevan Gorge, confirmed that Tuuta had been interviewed by the police, who had also taken statements from a number of witnesses to the alleged incident.

The League is waiting for reports from both clubs and from the Cumbria Police, but Featherstone were playing down the incident yesterday.

"There was nothing in it, and beyond that we have nothing to say," said the club's coach, David Ward, last night.

How much there was in it will be the subject of another League inquiry. All in all, it was not the most propitious day for the announcement that Lindsay is to become the chairman of the Major Spectator Sports Division of the Central Council for Physical Recreation.

With the League's chairman, Rodney Walker, already installed as chairman of the Sports Council, that gives the code two of the most influential posts in British sport. That will count for little, however, unless the code's threatened reputation can be repaired.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Corporate Tax Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL ...

Relationship Manager

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Relationship Manager, London, Banking, Accountant...

Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home