PARIS — Former New Zealand stars Dan Carter and Joe Rokocoko and their Racing 92 teammate Juan Imhoff were cleared of wrongdoing by the French Rugby Federation on Tuesday after traces of corticosteroids were found in their urine samples.
Their hearing took place last week after the FFR opened a disciplinary case.
“The FFR’s medical commission has lifted the doubts that were weighing on the medical practices of Racing 92,” the French club said in a statement. “Racing 92 and its players have been cleared of all doubt.”
Racing 92 added that the decision restored the image of “a club and the image of a sport.”
Carter, an inspirational flyhalf, is one of rugby’s all-time greats. Rokocoko scored 46 tries for New Zealand as a winger from 2003-10 — making him the second-highest try scorer in tests for the All Blacks behind Doug Howlett.
After helping New Zealand win its third World Cup title last year, Carter received his third world rugby player of the year award.
After 112 tests and a world-record test tally of 1,598 points for the All Blacks, Carter signed a three-year contract at Racing 92.
“No surprises that the FFR’s ruling was that I’d done nothing wrong,” the 34-year-old Carter said on his Instagram page. “I hold my integrity and the game of rugby’s integrity in the highest regard. I love this game and owe so much to rugby that I would never do anything intentionally to bring it into disrepute.”
Racing 92 denied that Carter, Rokocoko and Imhoff— a winger for Argentina — breached anti-doping rules. The club said the trio had received treatment days before the Top 14 final against Toulon on June 24 — which Racing won 29-21 — and in full compliance with national and international anti-doping rules.
“We consider it our duty to work with complete transparency and complete trust with all of the institutions that are fighting against doping,” Racing said. “The word (corticosteroid) has a strong emotional resonance because it can correspond to amoral and illegal behavior. It also corresponds to legal practices justified by medicine.”
Therapeutic Use Exemptions allow athletes with a condition that requires particular treatment to take banned drugs with permission from anti-doping organizations, event organizers and sports federations.
French regulations allow athletes to ask for TUEs retroactively in cases where they need emergency treatment.
World Anti-Doping Agency rules stipulate that all glucocorticoids are prohibited in competition when administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes. They can, however, be used by intra-articular infiltration, or into joints.
Carter expressed his support for the fight against doping.
“Whilst this whole episode is disappointing and frustrating, I support the authorities who work hard to ensure our game is played fairly,” said Carter, who scored 29 tries for the All Blacks. “I am glad that we can now put all this behind us so I can now concentrate on playing rugby.”