13 Mar 2013

Irvine quits as Cronulla NRL chairman

1:06 pm on 13 March 2013

Damian Irvine has quit his post as chairperson of the embattled Cronulla Sharks amid the anti-doping investigation centred on the Australian Rugby League club.

Irvine had been at the centre of controversy since he told a Sunday newspaper Sharks players had been injected with "equine substances".

His comments, made en route home to Australia from an overseas trip, put him at odds with both the rest of the club's board and the playing group.

The board's deputy chairperson Keith Ward had cited serious management failures when they stood down coach Shane Flanagan and sacked four football club staff last week.

Ward said the sackings were not related to any alleged doping practices at the club in the period during the 2011 season that is under investigation.

However Irvine claimed in Sunday's interview those stood down or sacked had knowledge of illegal practices for some time but did not inform the board.

Announcing his resignation today Irvine says while he won't back away from the conversation he had with the reporter, the comments weren't helpful and says they were made under a lot of badgering.

He says it's been a period of extreme pressure for a lot of people at the club.

Irvine says his presence at the club may prove be to an obstacle in allowing those affected by the decisions made by the board last week, which he says were right, to move forward.