Wednesday, February 26
Warne won't appeal 12-month drug ban

Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Cricket star Shane Warne will not appeal his one-year suspension for using a banned substance.

Warne told the Australian Cricket Board on Wednesday that he would not challenge the finding of its anti-doping tribunal, which suspended him Saturday after they found him guilty of using the banned diuretics hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride.

The 33-year-old Australian originally planned to appeal the suspension but changed his mind because, "I no longer want to put my family under even more stress."

The announcement came hours after the ACB released the full findings of the tribunal, in which Warne's evidence was described as vague and unreliable.

Warne maintained he never used performance-enhancing drugs, but admitted he made "a simple and innocent error of judgment" in taking the diuretic.

"I am also disappointed that the committee has said that my evidence was vague and unsatisfactory," Warne said. "Both my mother and I gave honest accounts under oath. The fact this has been brought into question is unfair."

Warne said the length of the suspension was harsh, but was determined to make a comeback when it ends on Feb. 10 next year.

"Looking to the future, I can say that I am definitely going to give it my best shot to get back to the top and will continue to train hard, work on my bowling and experiment with new deliveries."

In publishing its findings, the ACB's anti-doping tribunal said it had "grave doubts that it has full information as to the extent that Warne used (diuretics) prior to providing the sample on Jan. 22, 2003."

Warne tested positive for banned diuretics in a random doping test in Sydney on Jan. 22, the night before his international comeback from a dislocated shoulder.

Warne said he took the diet pill before attending a news conference where he announced he would retire from the limited-overs version of cricket after the World Cup. He said he took what he thought was a fluid tablet, given to him by his mother, Brigitte, so that he'd look his best for TV cameras.

The charge carried a maximum two-year ban, although the tribunal imposed a lesser punishment after accepting evidence from the ACB's anti-doping control officer that the sample contained no traces of performance-enhancing substances and Warne couldn't have gained advantage from using drugs.

Diuretics are banned because they can be used as masking agents for other drugs, including anabolic steroids.

The tribunal also questioned the evidence given by Warne's mother, who gave him the diet pills at least twice.

Warne told the tribunal he'd taken a diuretic tablet in December as well as in January. But while the earlier use showed up in a later drug test, it was not enough to trigger a positive finding.

The tribunal described Warne's decision to take the tablets without knowing what they contained as "a reckless act, totally disregarding the consequences.""

Warne is Australia's leading wicket taker in test and limited-overs cricket. His 491 test wickets ranks him second on the all time international standings behind retired West Indies paceman Courtney Walsh (519).

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