Gleeson hit with three-year ban

Martin Gleeson and Joel Tomkins celebrate with Sean O Loughlin

Martin Gleeson and Joel Tomkins celebrate with Sean O Loughlin

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FORMER Wigan and Hull centre Martin Gleeson, along with Hull chief executive James Rule and former assistant club coach Ben Cooper, have been banned following an investigation into anti-doping violations.

UK Anti-Doping yesterday confirmed that Gleeson, Rule and Cooper had been handed suspensions from the game totalling seven years between them.

The body revealed Rule and Cooper were charged with conspiring with Gleeson to cover up the circumstances which led to the player testing positive for a banned stimulant.

Orrell-based Gleeson [pictured below], a former Wigan St Patrick’s amateur player, only had a short spell at the KC Stadium after being released by the Warriors early this year, but tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine after a Super League game against Salford on May 13.

The 31-year-old, who scored two tries in Wigan’s 2010 Grand Final success, made only six appearances for Hull.

UKAD claim Gleeson later admitted lying about the matter and banned him for three years, half of which will be suspended.

The ban has also been backdated to June but will not expire until November, meaning the career of the former Warrington, St Helens and Huddersfield star could be over.

A statement from UK Anti-Doping, who conduct drugs tests on the behalf of the Rugby Football League, read: “Mr Gleeson agreed to a three-year ban being imposed by the National Anti-Doping Panel, with half that ban suspended in recognition of his providing assistance to UK Anti-Doping.

“Mr Cooper agreed to a two-year ban, with half also suspended.

“Mr Rule did not contest the charge made against him by UK Anti-Doping, and has been banned for two years by the National Anti-Doping Panel.”

Rule and Cooper left Hull in July, following the club’s takeover by former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson.

UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson said: “This case marks two firsts for the anti-doping community.

“It is the first time that tampering with the doping control process in this manner has resulted in a violation, and the first time that members of an athlete’s entourage have been convicted of anti-doping rule violations in the UK.

“In a hearing before the National Anti-Doping Panel, athletes and their entourage are obliged to tell the truth, or the system will fail, and this case makes clear the penalties for not doing so.

“Once again, this highlights to the sporting community that UK Anti-Doping will aggressively pursue all types of anti-doping rule violation.

“While all eyes are on the London Games this year, we continue to work on behalf of clean athletes in every sport.”