KRU defends Sevens players after doping claims

KRU chairman Mwangi Muthee wants Government to elaborate on doping allegations. (Image Courtesy)

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) has challenged the Government to state whether they have confidence in the qualification and integrity of members of the Anti-Doping Taskforce formed by Sports Cabinet to Secretary Hassan Wario to investigate use of banned substances by sportsmen in the country.

This is after the committee, in its final report alleged that Kenyan sportsmen, among them national rugby team players, used illegal food supplements.

KRU chairman Mwangi Muthee said his Union was shocked to find press reports alluding to “that, in the first place, it is illegal to use nutritional supplements.”

Muthee said only one player had failed a doping test and that was way back in 2005. He also added that the sevens players, who play up to nine months in a year around the world, are tested by standards set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Rugby Board (IRB) and none had failed since 2005.

The KRU boss added that there was no WADA approved Anti-Doping Agency in Kenya and the Taskforce had “cobbled together fallacious information from familiar players of local sports politics wishing to score points for their own agenda.”

“This is shoddy and misinformed work by Moni Wekesa (the committee’s chairman). Our game is unfairly tarnished beyond repair and some Kenyans are now liable to litigation because of the press publication of ‘absolute rubbish and untruth’. This exercise was a search for cheap publicity which it has achieved.”

When the Wekesa committee report was handed to Wario, its coverage on the online site of a local radio, Capital FM, sensationally headlined that current Kenya Sevens coach, Paul Treu, a former South Africa Sevens coach and his predecessor Mike Friday, a former England coach now heading USA Sevens, had “put Kenya Sevens players on steroids.”

Friday’s instant retort to the Capital FM Sports was: “You [Capital FM Sports] will need very good lawyers if you don’t publicly retract and apologize for these lies.”

KRU, while supporting the establishment of a Kenyan Anti-Doping Agency which the Government says will be enacted with proper legislation by January 2016, said they strongly questioned “the ethical foundation of the Wekesa committee’s war on doping.

“Its so-called findings consist of largely unsubstantiated assumptions, dubious claims and sources within sports associations whose integrity can be challenged,” the KRU chairman said.