Press releases 28th January 2016

World Rugby appoints new anti-doping General Manager

• World Rugby committed to the protection of a level playing field for all
• Appointment follows 28 per cent increase in intelligent testing and education budget
• 4,000 elite players undertook mandatory Keep Rugby Clean education in 2015

World Rugby has further strengthened its commitment to the fight against doping in sport with the appointment of Mike Earl as Anti-Doping General Manager. Earl joins World Rugby from UEFA and brings with him more than 15 years of experience in the implementation and management of intelligent and major event testing programmes and the delivery of educational programmes, critical in the fight against doping. He previously worked with both the Football Association and the UK National Anti-Doping Organisation.

With rugby continuing to experience record global participation growth, Earl will head-up the federation’s experienced and expanded anti-doping unit, responsible for the management of the compliance, intelligent testing, athlete biological passport and Keep Rugby Clean programmes which operate across the sport to protect clean athletes. World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Doping is a major threat to the integrity of sport and World Rugby is a committed and active federation in the fight to protect clean sport. This appointment in a critical area, expands our capability, ensuring the highest possible standards of testing and education as our sport continues to reach and grow in new markets worldwide. In 2015 we announced a 28 per cent increase in our annual education and testing funding. With participation levels increasing at unprecedented rates, this record anti-doping investment represents a proactive and pragmatic approach to protect our sport and ensure a level playing field. It focuses on the intelligence-based testing supported by our biological passport programme and increased face-to-face and online education across multiple languages.”

World Rugby is committed to ensuring the highest standards of education in order that players at all levels of the sport make the right choices with regards to nutrition and participation. Education remains a critical deterrent and it is mandatory for players, coaches and medical practitioners participating in World Rugby events. World Rugby also works with its national member unions to implement Keep Rugby Clean educational programmes that target the lower levels of the game and the school environment.

Editors Notes

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) compliant, World Rugby operates an intelligence-led, risk-based testing programme featuring both haematological and steroidal athlete biological passports (launched in 2013), supported by mandatory interactive education for players competing at World Rugby events. Players are tested ‘anytime, anywhere’ out of competition on an ongoing annual basis.

In 2015, the federation announced a 28 per cent increase in its testing and education budget, reflecting its commitment to the fight against doping as the playing population continues to grow at record pace. Increased funding will be channelled into education and tools to enhance further the effectiveness of deterrence, testing and analysis. World Rugby believes that future generations of players and wider sports participants need to be educated to make the right choices and play fair and in 2015 launched a supplements education programme to assist players, coaches and parents make the right choice regarding nutrition and preparing to play.

A targeted Rugby World Cup 2015 testing programme saw 468 samples undertaken across all 20 participating teams during the tournament with 200 in-competition samples and 268 out-of-competition samples collected. There were no adverse analytical findings. The testing programme included a mix of urine (317 samples collected) and blood (151). All samples were analysed by the drug control centre at the WADA-accredited laboratory at King’s College, London. Samples will be stored for future re-analysis in line with previous events.

The Keep Rugby Clean Programme is a mandatory online educational programme that operates in 11 language across all World Rugby tournaments with more than 14,000 player completions to date, targeting the under-20 age group and developing rugby nations. In 2014 World Rugby conducted a record 2,021 tests, including blood across men’s and women’s sevens and 15s (four positives) with the majority of tests collected out of competition. World Rugby’s 2015 testing figures will be published next month.

• This media release was originally sent out via email by World Rugby on 28 January 2016. You can access the original by clicking here.

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