ASADA staff test positive to coronavirus

Two staffers at the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) have tested positive to the coronavirus.

Two staffers at Australia's anti-doping agency have tested positive to coronavirus.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) says the staffers aren't drug testers.

The staffers self-isolated when they became aware that a person they'd had contact with tested positive to the virus.

"These staff members are not from our testing team and have not had any contact with athletes during this period," ASADA chief executive David Sharpe said on Monday.

All ASADA staff based in Canberra were working from home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

But the authority has warned Australia's athletes they can still be drug tested anywhere, anytime, despite some other nations halting tests amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While Russia and Canada have put doping tests on hold, ASADA's testing continues.

"ASADA maintains the ability to deliver critical testing where required," an ASADA spokesperson said on Monday.

"However, we have adapted our testing program to the current environment to ensure the health and safety of ASADA staff and athletes.

"Athletes are still required to adhere to their whereabouts requirements in the knowledge that they can be tested anywhere, anytime."

ASADA has enacted a continuity plan to ensure its essential functions operate.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation and are working with the Department of Health to inform our response and manage all risks associated with COVID-19," the spokesperson said.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency last week warned the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics could open the door for convicted drug cheats to compete for medals.

The Tokyo Games were to have started on July 24 this year but the virus outbreak forced their postponement.

Canada announced on Monday its doping control testing program had been put on hold until further notice in response to government directives intended to minimise the risk of exposure and spread of coronavirus.

Russia's anti-doping agency on Saturday said it was temporarily halting testing in response to government measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile in Australia, the AFL on Monday secured a line of credit with banks to allow it to continue operating.

The deal, reportedly worth more than $500 million, comes a week after the AFL and its 18 clubs stood down about 80 per cent of staff.

And the Australian Rugby League Commission on Monday guaranteed three months' funding for NRL clubs after another crisis meeting.

Each NRL club will get about $2.5 million to survive if the competition doesn't resume this year.

That included two months' pay for players under a proposed 75 per cent pay cut should the entire season be wiped out.

The development came as Rugby Australia (RA), at its annual general meeting on Monday, forecast "significant cuts" to remain viable.

RA detailed a $9.4 million operating deficit in the 2019 year, with chairman Paul McLean acknowledging "extremely uncertain times" lay ahead.

"To put it simply, there is no way of knowing what damage this crisis will have on our game, or for how long it will continue to impact us," McLean said in a statement.

RA CEO Raelene Castle took a 50 per cent pay cut with the specifics of the other cuts yet to be revealed.


AAP