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Sports lawyer questions legal action
By Wayne Heming
19:01 AEST Thu Feb 14 2013

North Queensland NRL boss Peter Jourdain says sporting organisations implicated in a year-long drugs probe could seek damages if the far-reaching investigation fails to produce results.

However, a prominent sports lawyer, who preferred not to be identified, told AAP on Thursday that suing the government was a tough battle for anybody.

"You're taking something on if you want to sue the government with the NRL standing there right behind them," he said.

"It's a massive ask if you think they're not going to vigorously defend themselves."

An angry Jourdain indicated on Thursday his NRL club felt it had been hung out to dry after subsequent talks with Australian Sport Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) officials showed they had no cause for concern.

"We feel like we're entitled to be a little bit aggrieved by the process," Jourdain said.

"From a club's perspective, we're going to have to look at our legal options and where we go from here but that may take some time.

"It is important to point out that at no time were any allegations made against the Cowboys.

"We were asked to cooperate with ASADA's investigations and provide some information which we have now done.

"As far as we are concerned, and aware, our involvement with ASADA on this issue has concluded."

Asked if he thought the whole affair had been a bit of a circus, he said: "I have to say there has to be some question marks over the process."

Jourdain said the Cowboys would investigate their legal options through a board member who was a qualified lawyer and warned other clubs and sporting organisations might follow suit if ASADA and the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) came up empty.

"It's damning to a lot of sports," said Jourdain.

"It will be interesting to see at the completion of it all (investigations) whether that (allegations) will be validated or not.

"If it is validated, then the sooner we get it out of the game ...

"...(but) if it's not, then there will be other people looking at their legal options, I would have thought."

The Victorian lawyer contacted by AAP for his legal view said all NRL clubs could say their reputations were tarnished because a drug use and match-fixing cloud hung over them for a few days this week.

"They were all in the same boat," he said.

"But I think it would be hard to prove your organisation suffered any greater unless there were specific allegations made against any player, I suspect."

ASADA, meanwhile, says it still has up 150 NRL and AFL players and officials to interview which could take some months.


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