FORMER Saints star Martin Gleeson’s top-flight career is in tatters after he was banned for doping offences.
Gleeson, 31, was given a three year ban - half of which will be suspended - for his part in a drugs scandal at his former club, Hull FC.
The club’s former chief executive James Rule and conditioner Ben Cooper were also banned after UK Anti-Doping, who administer drugs tests on behalf of the Rugby Football League, found them complicit in a cover-up.
A statement from UKAD read: “Mr Gleeson agreed to a three-year ban being imposed by the National Anti-Doping Panel, with half that ban suspended in recognition of his providing assistance to UK Anti-Doping.
“Mr Cooper agreed to a two-year ban, with half also suspended.
“Mr Rule did not contest the charge made against him by UK Anti-Doping, and has been banned for two years by the National Anti-Doping Panel.”
All three men have left Hull since the offence took place.
Gleeson joined Hull after being released by Wigan in April but made only seven Super League appearances for the club.
He played his last game against Harlequins on June 12 and subsequent absences from the team were attributed to a stress-related illness. His contract was terminated in September.
He tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine after a game against Salford on May 13.
The judgment from UKAD reveals he ingested the substance inadvertently while taking a dietary supplement he mistakenly believed to have been approved.
He initially claimed to have bought the supplement himself and had received clearance to take it from Cooper.
He later admitted, however, that he had obtained it from his former team-mate Sean Long “and did not speak to Mr Cooper himself but instead relied on Mr Long’s (truthful) statement that he had sought and obtained Mr Cooper’s clearance to use the supplement”.
Cooper and Rule were also found to have made false statements on the matter.
Gleeson’s ban will be backdated to June 2011 but will not expire until November next year.
As he will turn 33 early in the 2013 season, it is uncertain whether he will return at the top level.
Hull have undergone a management overhaul since the club was taken over by Adam Pearson in July with former chairwoman Kath Hetherington leaving along with Rule.
The club last tonight issued a statement condemning the former regime’s handling of the matter.
It read: “The new board are extremely disappointed at the handling of the entire process by the former chairwoman, CEO and board and of course the player for taking a banned substance in the first instance.”
UKAD last night confirmed they have returned to Hull to conduct further in-competition drug tests since the Gleeson incident and all have been negative.
Gleeson joined Saints from Huddersfield in 2002. He was sold to Warrington two years later after he and then team-mate Long were found to have bet on Saints to lose against Bradford.