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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 11:00 GMT
Allen appeal against ban increase
Former Wigan and Widnes forward David Allen is to appeal against his two-year drugs ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lucerne.

The 21-year-old was banned for 12 months by the Rugby Football League after testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine in 2006.

But that suspension was doubled last week following an appeal by UK Sport.

Allen's legal team has claimed that the appeal was lodged outside the 14-day period allowed by RFL regulations.

Richard Cramer has insisted that the original sentence should have been allowed to stand.

"I am waiting to speak to the barrister but my instructions are to press ahead with the appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport," he said.

Allen - who was not offered a new contract by Widnes after his deal expired - has had his suspension back-dated to start in November 2006.

He tested positive in October 2006 after Widnes' National League One Grand Final defeat by Hull Kingston Rovers.

The RFL had accepted Allen's claim that he took the drug accidentally.

But UK Sport asked it to reconsider and apply the mandatory two-year ban in the World Anti-Doping Code.

It was the first appeal lodged by UK Sport against a sanction imposed by a national governing body on an athlete who failed a drugs test.

Allen played in Wigan's first team in 2005, but left the Warriors to join Widnes at the end of the season.

UK Sport head of operations Andy Parkinson said the organisation had decided to make a stand by appealing against the original punishment.

We do not condone drug-taking, whether performance-enhancing or recreation

Widnes club statement

"We take no pleasure from this player receiving a two-year period of ineligibility," said Parkinson.

"However, it is vital that the standards in the code are implemented consistently across all sports and, as we have shown here, we will act if we feel this has not been the case."

"To be fair to the RFL, it is an organisation that we know takes anti-doping very seriously.

"Through the agreements they have signed with UK Sport in our role as the National Anti-Doping Organisation, all national governing bodies are aware of their obligations in terms of code compliance.

"This case now acts very much as a landmark in showing we will act swiftly and decisively if these obligations are not being met.

Widnes said they would launch a drugs awareness education programme for their players and coaches.

"We do not condone drug-taking, whether performance-enhancing or recreation, and we are taking steps to ensure the players and coaching staff are fully aware of the penalties, both legal and physical, that such actions can bring," read their statement.



SEE ALSO
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