ARU to ban Barba from Brisbane Tens

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

New Toulon recruit Ben Barba won't be playing at the Brisbane Tens, with the ARU flagging a move to block him from a late call-up.

Barba has reportedly signed with the French glamour club on a three-year, $2.5 million but hadn't joined them when they announced their squad.

While the ARU isn't running the Tens event, every rugby event in Australia has to be sanctioned by the national body, and ARU CEO Bill Pulver said they would fall into line with the ban the NRL had put in place on the fullback.

Ben Barba will be heading to Toulon. Photo: Getty ImagesDuco Events CEO Rachael Carroll had said earlier in the week that an invitation could be extended to Barba but Pulver shot down that possibility on Thursday.

"There is an agreement among all of the codes that if there are existing sanctions in place in one code and a player chooses to change to another code, the codes always relentlessly carry those sanctions across," he said.

"I don't know the fine detail of Barba's sanction but clearly it will be something we'll be talking to the FFR in relation to the potential involvement of any player. If any player had a sanction in an alternate code during a period where they wanted to play in something like the [Brisbane] Tens, that would be an issue."

Pulver said he had yet to speak to NRL CEO Todd Greenberg on Barba's situation, having just returned from a global rugby summit in San Francisco, but would be on board with whatever punishment their counterparts had settled on.

"Todd and I will be completely aligned on this issue as he would be if a rugby player was going to rugby league. There won't be an issue between the NRL and the ARU," he said.

"It'll really be an issue that we need to talk to, once we understand the issue in detail, there'll be a conversation with the FFR in France that will be responsible for talking to their club.

"If the sanction doesn't allow him to play rugby league in Australia next weekend, he won't be playing rugby union in Australia next weekend. - Bill Pulver

Illicit drug policies are determined by individual competitions, not covered by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and as such are not enforced internationally but Pulver said the status quo was satisfactory with the players the primary focus.

"The illicit drug policy - I think this will be an area of focus for all sport and there are different number of strikes that you can have across code, it is fair to say that illicit drugs are a real problem in Australia and right around the world," he said.

Todd Greenberg and Bill Pulver are set to discuss the Ben Barba situation. Photo: Getty Images"How we deal with it is a really sensitive issue and in the large part we put in place policies designed to improve the environment for the individual.

"We're really worried less about the sport, we're trying to create an environment that's constructive for the individual. Across all codes, if you breach the policies in relation to illicit drugs, you're not going to play the game for very long.

"So, I think there's still room for further dev elopement but I think we're all focused on the right issues and that is player welfare."