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Smith confirms NRL to meet ACC

By Kim Hagdorn
12 February 2013 11:53AM EST

NEW NRL boss David Smith moved swiftly to curb escalating unrest in his ranks as six clubs prepare to meet with Australian Crime Commission authorities.

In another emotion-charged media conference for a leading Australian sporting code boss in Sydney on Tuesday, Smith announced clubs would be front ACC officials later the same day.

Smith only took up his post as league chief at the start of this month.

He revealed that he had informed chiefs at all six clubs on Monday night that their outfits are officially embroiled in ACC investigations into use of alleged illgeal drugs and possible corruption in the sport.

The six NRL clubs named in an Australian Crime Commission report are to be briefed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, Smith announced.

The league chief was legally gagged from declaring any further detail relating to the ACC investigation into rugby leaguie, which has spread to the nation's top professional sporting codes.

Manly, Cronulla, Penrith, Canberra, North Queensland and Newcastle are the NRL clubs mentioned in the Australian Crime Commission report into sports doping and corruption.

Smith also declared he is unaware of how long the ACC investiagtion will run.

The national crime authority is also operating in tandem with ASADA in an expansive investigation across professional sport into illicit drug acquirement, use and potential match-fixing.

"There is a briefing with ASADA and respective clubs as part of an ongoing investigation," Smith said at his media briefing on Tuesday.

"I understand the frustrations for the players at the clubs and the fans.

"It will take the ongoing investigations to the next stage. I can't pre-judge how long that will take.

"We do not have permission to go into any detail with the clubs.

"ASADA will be briefling clubs today with their investigation.

"What I will say is the absolute majority of our staff and players do the right thing."

Smith stated that while he understands mounting frustrations in the league clubs and among players and fans but reiterated need for a full legal process to be conducted in the far reaching investigation by authorities.

The just recently-installed league boss reiterated his confidence that league would come out of the investigation following appointment just last week of an independent integrity unit headed by Tony Whitlam QC. 

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