On this day in 2003: Shane Warne handed 12-month ban after taking diuretic

Shane Warne

Shane Warne was banned from cricket for a year on this day in 2003, ruling him out of the World Cup, after he tested positive for banned diuretics.

Warne accused the Australian Cricket Board’s drugs tribunal of bowing to “anti-doping hysteria” after they handed him a 12-month suspension for using a prohibited substance as a masking agent.

The then 33-year-old came out fighting after Queensland judge Glen Williams QC announced the three-man panel had found him guilty of breaching the ACB’s drugs code.

Shane Warne
Former Australia cricketer Shane Warne at The Oval (John Walton/PA)

The verdict came as a body blow for the leg-spinner, who had insisted from the outset that the fluid tablet he took from his mother was purely to make him look good in front of the television cameras.

The tribunal decided that defence did not constitute “exceptional circumstances” – which would have justified dismissing the charge under ACB policy – and therefore found him guilty.

“I would like to say I am absolutely devastated and very upset at the committee’s decision to suspend me for 12 months and I will appeal,” Warne said.

Victim of anti-doping hysteria

“I feel I am a victim of the anti-doping hysteria. I also want to repeat that I have never taken any performance-enhancing drugs and never will.

“I feel a 12-month suspension is a very harsh penalty for not checking what I took with anyone. Playing for Australia and Victoria is my love.
“I would never knowingly put that in jeopardy. I love playing cricket too much.”
Diuretics are commonly used to aid weight loss by ridding the body of any excess fluids but are banned in sport because they can mask the detection of steroids in the system.

Warne’s mother Brigitte gave him the Moduretic before he went in front of the cameras to tell the world of his decision to retire from one-day international cricket after the World Cup.

Warne returned to cricket following his ban and took over 1,000 wickets in Tests and one-day internationals across his career before retiring from international cricket in January 2007.