11th January 2017

Rugby player given four-year ban after emergency work call out

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has handed a four-year ban to an amateur Welsh rugby union player for evading a doping test, dismissing his argument that an emergency callout from work meant that he couldn’t provide a scheduled sample at a training session he attended. Kurt Clabby was informed by his coach at Bedwas RFC that he had been selected as one of four players who would undergo doping control at 19:15 at a 1 December 2015 training session.

A National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) Tribunal decision cited evidence that Clabby is an employee of Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water – DCWW) and was part of the emergency call-out team for the week commencing Saturday 28 November 2015. Clabby was placed on standby, meaning that he could be called away to work if other members of the DCWW emergency call-out team were not available.

However, it is understood that UKAD is re-examining its evidence in the case, after it emerged that Clabby hasn’t ever been directly employed by DCWW. A DCWW spokesperson said it was liaising with UKAD to confirm Clabby was not a direct employee of Welsh Water, as stated in the NADP decision.

Clabby argues that at around the same time that he was selected to provide a sample, he checked his mobile phone and noticed messages from his supervisor at work, Robert Jones and a colleague, Leon Greenway, relating to an emergency call that had been logged at 17:45. He phoned Greenway and arranged to pick him up after the training session ended at 19:30. Clabby’s evidence included a written statement from Jones confirming that at 17:45 he received two standby calls which required an immediate response at a local address. Jones called the athlete three times at approximately 17:50, but couldn’t reach him.

In hearing the case, the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) Tribunal decision states that it was ‘comfortably satisfied’ that the athlete had ‘deliberately avoided’ Doping Control Personnel (DCP) in order to avoid being tested. In its reasoning, it pointed out that Clabby had made no attempt to liaise with DCP before leaving the venue. It also ‘found it significant that the Athlete’s own evidence indicated that the first call had been made to the Athlete’s phone at 17:50, some 40 minutes before the training session had commenced. The failure to have been aware of, let alone to have responded to, that call plainly contradicted the Athlete’s case that he was simply acting responsibly and in accordance with his work obligations.’

“Kurt Clabby’s decision to evade sample collection is not just a serious breach of the rules but it also goes against the spirit of sport and his responsibility as a sportsperson”, said UKAD Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead in a statement. “We treat violations such as this with the upmost seriousness and we will always seek to impose the maximum possible sanction on any individual who decides to consciously cheat the system.”

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