Sharks’ star Barba fails drugs test

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Cronulla Sharks star full­back Ben Barba has failed a drugs test, the club said yes­ter­day as it re­leased him from his con­tract to seek treat­ment over­seas. The Na­tional Rugby League cham­pi­ons said the player needed to deal with “some sig­nif­i­cant per­sonal is­sues”, con­firm­ing the pos­i­tive test in a state­ment. It did not de­tail what drugs were in­volved but the Syd­ney Daily Tele­graph re­ported that he took co­caine just days af­ter the Sharks beat Mel­bourne Storm to fi­nally end their 49-year NRL ti­tle drought last month. “I know and accept I need to take some time away from the game to deal with some per­sonal is­sues,” said Barba. “I am ac­count­able for my­self and my ac­tions and if I don’t ad­dress them now I will cer­tainly ruin my ca­reer and more im­por­tantly my life and that of my fam­ily. “I hope to re­turn to the game at some stage and am very grate­ful for the sup­port of the Cronulla Sharks and I hope that one day I can again play be­side this ter­rific bunch of guys.”

It is not the first time he has courted trou­ble, hav­ing been sus­pended by former club Can­ter­bury Bull­dogs in 2013 over “be­havioural is­sues”, re­port­edly in­volv­ing gam­bling and anger prob­lems.

Sharks chief ex­ec­u­tive Lyall Gor­man said the club felt it was “ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary” to part ways with Barba, who had a stel­lar sea­son. “While Ben will be a ma­jor loss to our foot­ball club, the far greater pri­or­ity is for him to fo­cus on his longterm fu­ture away from foot­ball,” he said.

“We will con­tinue to sup­port Ben through­out that process in any way we can.” —AFP

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