News 2nd March 2016

West Indies cricketer misses doping tests

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has been cited for missing three doping tests within a 12-month period, which would constitute a ‘whereabouts failure’ and thereby an anti-doping rule violation under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Code (Article 2.4).

If found guilty, Russell risks becoming ineligible from cricket for two years under the Code (Article 10.3.2), subject to reduction down to a minimum of one year depending on his degree of fault. This reduction is only available if an athlete has not had a pattern of last-minute whereabouts changes or other conduct which has raised serious suspicion that an ‘athlete was trying to avoid being available for testing’.

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) International Standard for Testing (IST), if a top-level athlete included in the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) for their National Anti-Doping Organisation misses three tests and/or commits three filing failures within a year, they will have committed a whereabouts failure.

A missed test is defined by the IST as a failure by the athlete to be available for testing at the location and time specified in the 60-minute time slot identified in his whereabouts filing for the day in question. Athletes can update their 60-minute time-slot and their whereabouts at all times, including by emailing and/or text messaging their relevant anti-doping organization. If they miss a test, they have the opportunity of providing a reason.

Russell is in the RTP established by the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) alongside other high level cricketers including Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Stafanie Taylor, as well as athletes Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

According to the news agency Reuters, JADCO’s independent disciplinary panel chairman Kent Pantry said, “We received notification of Russell’s violation about two weeks ago and I’ve appointed a panel to hear his case.”

“There is a process regarding the findings by JADCO,” the West Indies Cricket Board said in a statement. “All that will be observed and you will be advised accordingly.”

Andre Russell is part of the West Indies cricket squad for the upcoming World T20, which starts next week in India. Should Russell be found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation, his period of ineligibility shall start on the date of the final hearing decision (10.11.1).

Russell is one of the world’s best T20 cricketers and plays for a number of clubs around the world in high profile domestic T20 competitinos. In the last six months Russell has played in and been part of the winning teams that won the Big Bash League in Australia and the Pakistan Super League, and has been signed to play in the Indian Premier League which starts after the World Cup.

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