News 3rd October 2017

Rugby player given four year ban after withdrawing consent for test

A rugby player who was convicted of supplying steroids has been sanctioned with a four year ban by England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU), after withdrawing his consent for testing. Jack McIntosh was targeted for testing by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) after he registered with Vale of Lune RFC, because UKAD was aware that he had a 2012 conviction for supplying steroids.

On 15 May 2015, McIntosh provided a urine sample to UKAD’s doping control officer (DCO), who did not record any issues of consent. On 16 May, McIntosh emailed UKAD to say that he had retired from rugby and was therefore withdrawing his consent for the sample to be tested.

In January 2016 McIntosh was charged with a breach of World Rugby Regulation (WRR) 21.2.1, ‘Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in a Player’s Sample’, despite the fact that he had withdrawn his consent for his sample to be processed. McIntosh appealed.

The RFU changed its charge to a breach of WRR 21.2.5, ‘Tampering or Attempted Tampering with any part of Doping Control’, after UKAD sought advice from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as to the appropriate consequences under the World Anti-Doping Code. McIntosh argued that the new charge did not accurately describe his conduct. He requested that the decision recording his breach of WRR 21.2.5 set out that he ‘subverted or sought to subvert the Doping Control process by withdrawing consent to the processing of his Doping Control related data’.

The RFU agreed that where a four year ban were imposed under WRR 21.2.5, subject to the conditions specified by McIntosh above, the RFU would accept his appeal against his alleged breach of WRR 21.2.1. His appeal against the initial charge was therefore allowed, but he was banned for four years for attempting to subvert the doping control process. McIntosh has the right to further appeal the decision.

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