Sheahan has suffered from asthma for years now and uses Ventolin which contains Salbutamol. As he is required to do he has always made this fact known to IRFU but it appears that he failed to do this when filling out a form prior to the start of the Heineken Cup.
Statement issued by IRFU:
It has been confirmed to the Munster Branch and to the Irish Rugby Football Union that a urine sample supplied by Frank Sheahan following the Heineken European Cup match between Munster and Stade Toulousain on April 26th, 2003 has returned a positive analysis showing the presence of Salbutamol.Under ERC and IRFU regulations the player is temporarily suspended from all playing activity until such time as the ERC anti doping procedures are concluded and the case is heard before the ERC s Independent Judicial Tribunal.
The player will leave the Ireland tour party currently in Australia and return to Ireland as soon as arrangements can be made.
When contacted, Frank Sheahan said, "I am shocked to learn of this development but I am absolutely satisfied it results from an administrative error. Apparently, I did not tick off the appropriate box to show I have a medical need to use Ventolin, which contains Salbutamol, because of asthma, which all my medical records show. Ventolin is not a forbidden substance and it is simply a technicality of having it declared on the form.
"While I am devastated at having to leave the tour, I am now anxious to get home and meet my medical advisers in order to put together the documentation that will clarify what I am happy is effectively a human error in administration."