Clubs consider damages

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, said 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 yesterday 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 co-operate with ASADA's investigations and provide some information, which we have now done."

Asked if he thought the whole affair had been a bit of a circus, he said: "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 that other clubs and sporting organisations might follow suit if ASADA and the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) came up empty.

The Victorian lawyer contacted 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, said it still had up to 150 NRL and AFL players and officials to interview, which could take some months.

Meanwhile, Canberra chief executive Don Furner said a 30-minute briefing from ASADA officials yesterday was very beneficial for the club.

None of the Raiders' current staff and squad are believed to be under investigation but Furner wanted all to be as well informed as possible.

"They [ASADA] are based here in Canberra so I asked them to come along and they did, which was good of them," Furner said.

"They answered questions from the players, explained the nature of the investigation and explained they understood the frustration that it could take longer."

Furner said there had been plenty of questions from the players about how and why the club had been implicated and he wanted to make sure they were kept as up to date as possible.

"I said to ASADA I was briefing the players and asked them if they'd like to come along and ensure I was passing on the right information and could answer any questions I couldn't," he said.

Furner said he empathised with the comments made by North Queensland coach Neil Henry on Wednesday.

Henry condemned the ACC's process and was angered his club's name had been forced out publicly in connection with the report before even they knew any detail of the alleged involvement.

"All the clubs feel the same way," Furner said. "All the players, all the staff feel under suspicion. It is a very strange time. But, as we have already said, we will co-operate with the investigation in every way we can." AAP

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