25th March 2019

Rugby union player banned for four months

Rugby Union player Christopher Phillips, of Pontypridd RFC, has been suspended from all sport for a period of four months following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). On 26 October 2017, Mr. Phillips was subject to an out-of-competition test following a training session at Pontypridd RFC. Analysis of Mr Phillips’ urine sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for stanozolol-N-glucuronide, a metabolite of stanozolol, a non-specified substance which is always prohibited in sport.

Mr Phillips was subsequently charged with an ADRV for the Presence of a Prohibited Substance under UK Anti-Doping Rule (ADR) Article 2.1. The onus of establishing that a violation was not intentional rests with the athlete, with the starting point of a sanction being four years.

The independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) found that the athlete had taken a supplement that had been inadvertently contaminated. The NADP therefore concluded that this violation was not intentional and went on to assess the athlete’s degree of fault. The NADP found that the athlete bore No Significant Fault or Negligence, and determined the period of ineligibility to be four months.

UK Anti-Doping’s (UKAD) Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, said: “This is a very important case for all athletes who use supplements. There are steps athletes can take to reduce the anti-doping risks when using nutritional supplements, but it is impossible to reduce this risk to zero. Athletes must comply with the principle of strict liability- taking full responsibility for what they put in their bodies. There can be significant consequences for an athlete who accepts the risks of using nutritional supplements and is then found with a prohibited substance in their sample.”

UKAD has been asked why the publication of this Decision was delayed. Nicole Sapstead said “UKAD strives to ensure that all decisions following an ADRV which can be published, are published. We are a public body, utilising public funds and therefore must do this with responsibility and care. There were significant potential legal, and financial, implications around the publication of this case, and UKAD had to consider the risk of any legal liability before publishing.”

The NADP concluded the period of ineligibility for Mr Philips would be four months from 26 October 2017. To read the full judgement, please click here.

• This media release was published by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) on 25 March 2019. Click here for the original.

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