A semi-professional player has been banned by the RFU after he failed a doping control.
Daniel Wells, registered as a player for Clifton RFC, has been banned from all sport following an in-competition test on 14 April 2018.
Wells, a centre, claimed that he had taken a vaso-dialator that was designed to give users ‘vein bursting pumps’.
Mr Wells tested positive for two prohibited substances, Ostarine and Methylhexaneamine (MHA). Ostarine is an anabolic agent, prohibited at all times, and MHA a specified stimulant, prohibited in competition. Both are included on the 2018 World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Wells believed that taking a contaminated supplement was the only possible way that any banned substances could have found their way into his system.
Mr Wells was charged with a breach of World Rugby regulation 21.2.1, “Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample”.
Wells said that he could not afford to have the supplement in question tested in a lab at the cost of £2,500 but did provide the RFU with the residue from the supplement for testing. The RFU suggested a Beligan laboratory that could test it for £800, but Wells said he could not afford it as he was newly married and did not earn a large salary.
It was found that Wells had not proven how the Ostarine had entered his body nor could he prove that it was unintentional, nor could he prove that it was from the supplement in question. The tribunal said they simply couldn’t take it solely on the player’s word.
He admitted the charge and was handed a four-year ban by the National Anti-Doping Panel.
The RFU however did not escape without criticism. The panel said they found it ‘unfortunate’ that an organisation like the RFU which had ‘substantial resources’ felt unable to pay the ‘modest amount’ for the testing of the supplement the defendant said was responsible for his failed test.
RFU Anti-Doping and Illicit Drugs Programme Manager Stephen Watkins said: “All rugby players are subject to the anti-doping rules which are in place to protect players and the integrity of our sport.”
He is banned for four years, from the 18 May 2018, the date of his provisional suspension, until 17 May 2022.
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