“Divisive”, “Disgraceful”, “Counter-productive”

South Sydney - Shane RichardsonBy STEVE MASCORD

SOUTH Sydney chief executive Shane Richardson has described the progress of the ACC investigation into doping, match fixing and organised crime as “disgraceful”, “divisive” and “counter-productive”.

Richardson last night told the Herald the report should have been tabled in parliament, where parliamentary privilege would have allowed the guilty parties to be named.

“Last night was one of the most depressing days of my life, sitting by the phone and hoping a call never came,” Richardson said, in reference to the NRL informing clubs which had been named in the report.

“It was surreal –surreal and ridiculous.

“I felt sick in the stomach – and so would have 16 CEOs and 16 chairmen and 16 coaches.  These claims, this innuendo and all the rest of it, it all comes down to a telephone call.

“And what does it mean? that Cronulla’s worse than Souths? It doesn’t.

“If they were going to release that document, they should have released it in parliament, where they could actually name names because they’re under parliamentary privilege.

“The whole thing’s been disgraceful.

“From the moment they made that announcement, it’s become divisive, it’s become counter-productive and it hasn’t helped the process in any way shape or form.”

Richardson said the chain of events – which saw the ACC on Monday give permission for the NRL to inform clubs they had been referred to in the report – had set franchises and sports against each other when the best solution was for everyone to work together.

“What it means is that we’ve got a real problem and the only way we’re going to solve it is if we work together,” he said.

“The process should be simple: we work together to find out how we can assist. You’ll never eradicate it. You have to try to narrow the problem down.

“If we go around stabbing ourselves in the back, club to club, code to code, we’ll never solve anything.

“They made this statement the other day, saying it’s rife in the game, and so far they’ve come up with nothing.  Then they tell the clubs, but they don’t really go into any depth of what it is.

“It’s not a problem for them – it’s a problem for us. How are we going to find it if we don’t find it together?

“They chose to go public and say ‘we have information, come to us now’. What is this information? What it’s done is cast a pall over everyone and sports are saying ‘oh well, it’s not me, it’s them’ or ‘it’s not us, it’s that club there’.

“There’s nothing evil about the clubs. It’s like ‘you’re not named, you’re a cleanskin, you’re named, you’re dirty’. I don’t think that’s right at all.”

South Sydney lower grader Curtis Johnston has been stood down after being accused of using performance enhancing drugs but the Rabbitohs were not one of six clubs named in the ACC report.

“I’ve chosen to say this now for the same reason it’s best to complain about the referee after you’ve won,” Richardson said.

“But I don’t feel like we’ve won. I feel like the game’s lost.”

Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

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