1 Dec 2014

Coach suspension 'worst case scenario'

6:27 pm on 1 December 2014
File photo

File photo Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The suspension of an Auckland weightlifting coach for attempted trafficking in illegal drugs is being likened to the state sponsored drug programmes of the eastern bloc countries in the 1970's and 80's.

Daniel Milne, has been suspended for six years by the Sports Tribunal for attempted trafficking in, and possession of, prohibited substances.

Milne admitted both charges after offering to supply steroids and other performance enhancing prohibited substances to a 19 year old weightlifter he was coaching in 2012.

He held a party at his house where he showed the lifter some of these products and offered to source them and show him how to use them.

The weightlifter subsequently declined and told another coach which led to Drug Free Sport New Zealand carrying out investigations and ultimately referring the matter to the Tribunal on 6 October 2014.

Drug Free Sport NZ

Drug Free Sport NZ Photo: Drug Free Sport NZ

Graeme Steel, the chief executive of Drug Free Sport New Zealand, said "this is the worst scenario for doping."

"In some cases it's just individual athletes doing one off things but the worst cases are what we have seen in the old eastern bloc where it became part of the system and coaches became part of the problem rather part of the solution.

"So its not just the young person who came forward but also the other coaches being prepared to come forward as well."

Steel said it's the first anti-doping violation of attempted trafficking in New Zealand.

The minimum penalty for attempted trafficking is 4 years' suspension from sport with a maximum penalty of a life ban and the Tribunal noted there were aggravating factors including that the violations happened within an athlete-coach relationship and the young weightlifter should have received support and not been encouraged to take prohibited substances.

In the Tribunal's view, without considering any mitigating factors, a starting point of 7 to 8 years' suspension would apply in these circumstances, however the Tribunal ruled there were mitigating factors as Milne eventually admitted the violations and accepted responsibility for what occurred and was contrite and ashamed.

The Tribunal was satisfied Mr Milne's frame of mind in which the offending occurred is now history but stated that "the fundamental attack on the integrity of all sporting contests demands that the breach is not minimised".

The Tribunal ordered the 6 year period start from 1 January 2014.