The NEC Green Rockets, the former home to ex-NRL winger Blake Ferguson, have vowelled to remain in the Japan Top League despite fears the former Eels' alleged drug-related antics could have seen the club fold.
With Japan's stern drug laws placing immense pressure on the club, the fallout of Ferguson's actions could see major ramifications on the rugby union side.
Initial fears suggested the Green Rockets could be forced to fold, however the club has since expressed its hope to play in the League One opening round this week.
The Tokatsu side have since looked to patch up their broken image, with the Green Rockets set to donate proceeds from the upcoming season to aid the league's battle to further prevent illegal drugs within the competition.
The club confirmed the strict measures they have begun to take since Ferguson's contract was torn up, also having all players undertake drug tests.
"We deeply apologize for the arrest of Blake Ferguson, a former contract player of NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu, on December 30, 2021 for a serious violation of the law of possession of illegal drugs," the statement reads. "We will continue to fully cooperate with police investigations.
"Until now, the team has been thoroughly observing compliance and calling attention on a daily basis, but as a result, it must be said that efforts such as disseminating and thoroughly disseminating to new contract players were insufficient.
"This time, as an emergency measure, we have already conducted drug tests by an external organization on all the players and staff of the team, and confirmed that all the test results are negative.
"In addition, after explaining compliance to all athletes in the presence of an outside lawyer, we conducted individual hearings and obtained a written oath. In the future, we will carry out regular drug tests and compliance training for all athletes, and conduct thorough background checks including drug tests when contracting new athletes."
The Green Rockets added they will look to regain the trust of their following and the rest of the competition when they begin their 2022 Japan Top League campaign.
"As a result of careful consideration based on this situation, we will strive to restore trust by playing with all our strength, and we will fulfill our responsibility for sports promotion such as rugby and regional revitalization," the statement continues.
"We have decided to participate in the opening round of RUGBY LEAGUE ONE.
"As a matter of course, we are seriously aware of the concerns and inconveniences caused to the league, related parties, and fans due to this matter, so a part of the profits of the host game of this term will be used as an absolute measure against illegal drugs in the league.
"At the extremely important time when the opening of JAPAN RUGBY LEAGUE ONE is imminent, we have caused a great deal of concern and inconvenience to everyone involved, and everyone who has been supporting and supporting the team on a daily basis. We sincerely apologize for the disappointment. We will work together as a team to restore the trust of everyone as soon as possible."
According to multiple reports, former Wallabies coach and current Green Rockets head Michael Cheika's job security in Japan has been severely hindered.
It is also understood that Australian staff with Tokatsu are also fearing for their own future at the club.