Jarryd Hayne, who stepped away from the 49ers’ 90-man roster to pursue a spot with the Fiji Sevens rugby team in this summer’s Olympic Games, is not guaranteed a spot in Rio de Janeiro.
Not only does Hayne have to win a position on the Fiji rugby sevens team, but he might face an even-more-difficult battle to win clearance from the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Richard Ings, who served as the chair of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority from 2006 to ’10, pointed out that World Rugby requires that athletes be in its registered testing pool for at least six months to be eligible to participate in such international competitions as the Olympic Games, which begin Aug. 5.
“Hayne is very likely ineligible," Ings wrote on Twitter.
“If Jarryd Hayne had been playing in WADA compliant sport he would have grounds to reduce the 6 months. But NFL is PED badlands. No chance.”
However, the leader of Fiji's Olympic Committee said their policies do not require athletes to go through a six-month period before representing the country.
“Every athlete who becomes a squad member and then finally a Team Fiji member is aware that at some stage they could be randomly chosen to be drug tested," FOC secretary general Lorraine Mar told Reuters.
"There is no criteria that they have to be tested a number of times. So that's not a consideration, but the athlete needs to be aware they could be drug tested."
Hayne, 28, the former star in Australia’s National Rugby League, played one season with the 49ers. On Sunday, he announced his decision to abandon his pursuit of playing a second NFL season.
“I am retiring from the NFL because the Fiji rugby sevens team reached out to me about the opportunity to join the team for the upcoming Olympics, and I simply could not pass that chance up,” Hayne said in a statement released through the 49ers.
The Fiji national team's coach, Ben Ryan, said Hayne will join the team Monday when Fiji team travels to London for pre-Olympics competition. In February, Hayne posted a photo on Twitter that showed him receiving a personalized jersey from Ryan and the team. Ryan said he had a few conversations with Hayne and followed his career from rugby league to the NFL.
"I have no promises he is going to make the 12, but we will see how he goes,” Ryan said, according to WorldRugby.org. “He will then come into Fijian camp for the Olympic period. It is a huge challenge for Jarryd. . . If he doesn't make it, is just shows how good this Fijian Sevens side is.
"It is a no-lose situation for me. It is a no-lose for Jarryd, either. He gets himself into the possibility of being a part of this journey, and the boys are all going to learn off him as well.”
Twelve players will be chosen for the Fiji Olympic team from a group of 24 athletes invited to training camp in June. There will be 12 teams competing in the Olympics' rugby sevens, which is a shorter version of the standard 15-players-a-side sport.