18th October 2018

Rugby union player sanctioned with four year ban

Welsh rugby union player Maredydd Francis has been sanctioned with a four year ban, after UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) rejected his explanation that an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for three types of anabolic steroid was not intended to enhance his performance, but speed up his recovery from an operation. Francis, of Welsh Premiership club Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 RFC, tested positive for the following substances after a 10 March 2018 match against Aberavon RFC:

• 17α-epitrenbolone (a metabolite of trenbolone);
• Nandrolone;
• Testosterone and the following metabolites of testosterone:
– androsterone;
– etiocholanone;
– 5α-androstane-3α, 17β-diol (5αAdiol);
– 5β-androstane-3α, 17β-diol (5βAdiol).

‘Mr Francis has not sought to establish that his ADRV was not intentional’, read the full UKAD judgment (PDF below). ‘He has stated that he knowingly took the Prohibited Substances detected in his A Sample for four weeks in July 2017, after having an operation at the end of the 2016/17 season. He stated that he used those substances to increase the rate of his recovery after the operation’.

‘UKAD does not accept this account to the extent that it considers the claimed timing of the last administration of the Prohibited Substances to be implausible’, continues the judgment. ‘UKAD would not expect nandrolone (in parent drug form) to be detected in, or a conclusive IRMS result for exogenous steroids to be obtained from, a Sample collected seven months after the administration of those substances. The evidence is consistent with Mr Francis having taken the Prohibited Substances more recently than he has admitted.’

“This is one of several cases we have seen recently in which the athlete is guilty not only of taking a performance enhancing drug, but a number of banned substances”, said UKAD’s Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, in its statement. “Athletes must be aware that taking such a cocktail of performance enhancing drugs will not only see them banned from sport, but also has the potential to be hugely damaging to health. We hope such instances serve as a warning to others.”

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