WILLIE Rioli’s drug nightmare is over.
It can be revealed Rioli will return to West Coast and the AFL this year after a decision was finally made on his future.
The Eagles forward will this afternoon be formally handed a two-year suspension after producing an adverse analytical finding for urine substitution on August 20, 2019. The ban is backdated.
The decision comes as an enormous relief for Rioli, who was facing a maximum four-year ban for tampering with a urine sample.
ASADA has the right to appeal the decision, but it’s understood it has decided against doing so, freeing Rioli to return to the game.
Rioli, 25, will be eligible to play some time in August, but will be permitted to return to Eagles training in the middle of this year.
Rioli last December was finally able to have his case heard by an AFL anti-doping tribunal, with his father Willie Rioli Sr saying his son received a “fair hearing”.
Rioli has been represented by David Grace, QC, who acted on behalf of 32 of the 34 Essendon players in the supplements saga.
The delay in the Rioli case has been the subject of widespread criticism, with West Coast Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett revealing the club would ask the AFL to consider stepping away from the World Anti-Doping Code to enhance efficiency.