Spencer out for eighteen months

Western Australian fast bowler, Duncan Spencer, was suspended from playing international and interstate cricket for 18 months tonight by the ACB's Anti-Doping Committee after admitting to taking the anabolic steroid, Nandrolone.

In handing down its decision the Committee indicated that it will provide the reasons for its decision in the course of the next week.

ACB Chief Executive, Malcolm Speed said that it was difficult to provide very much detail until the Anti-Doping Committee provided its reasons.

During the seven-hour hearing the Committee heard evidence from Spencer that he had taken the drug to aid in his recovery from a debilitating back injury that had kept him out of representative cricket since 1994.

He confirmed that he was aware before he resumed his career with Western Australian that he had taken a prohibited substance.

"It is apparent that the he took a banned substance, an act clearly illegal under the ACB's Anti Doping Policy," said Mr Speed.

"The Committee was satisfied that an offence under the Anti-Doping Policy had been committed. The prescribed penalty of two years was reduced to 18 months under a discretionary power given to the Committee under the Policy to consider evidence from the ACB Anti-Doping Medical Advisor, Dr Peter Harcourt.

"The Committee's reasons for reducing the penalty will become clearer once the reasons for their decision are provided.

"No sport would be pleased that one of its players had been found guilty of this type offence but I am reassured by the fact that this player was identified and dealt with quickly through the ACB's testing program and Anti Doping procedures.

"This decision sends a clear message that cricket will not tolerate any player taking prohibited substances and will move swiftly to deal with any person found to have breached the ACB's Anti-Doping Policy," said Mr Speed.

Spencer also advised the Committee that despite signing the State contract confirming that he had received and read the ACB Anti-Doping Policy, he had not been provided with a copy of the document by the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA). WACA Cricket Manager, Rob Thompson, later confirmed this fact.

Speed said the issue of addressing the breakdown in procedure at the WACA would be taken up directly with the Association to ensure that this does not re-occur.

Speed also confirmed that the ACB has offered the support of cricket's Career and Welfare program to assist Spencer to deal with this decision.

"Moving ahead, the ACB has made available to Duncan the support of cricket's Career and Welfare program to provide any personal and career counseling that he may wish over the coming weeks."