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Yet again recent decisions of the National Anti-Doping Panel have highlighted the dangers of athletes taking un-prescribed medicines with serious consequences. Christian Edwards, Partner and Sports Law expert at JCP Solicitors tells Sporting Wales what any aspiring sports person should be aware of when beginning their career:

It is important to note that in addition to professional athletes, semi-professional players can also be covered by Anti- Doping Regulations. Many sporting bodies such as the WRU and RFU have adopted the standard rules and regulations of the National Anti- Doping Panel (“NADP”). Accordingly if as an athlete, you are affiliated to, or a member of, such a sporting body, you are bound by the rules of the NADP.

For established professionals, there should not really be any excuse, but what of academy players or even semi- professional players?

Each club which runs an academy should ensure that education and training is given on the taking of un- prescribed medication at the earliest possible stage. In other words, such advice should be incorporated into player development programmes. It is good practice to introduce random

drug testing at an earlier stage so that developing players become familiar with the process.

But when it comes to semi-professional players playing mainly for enjoyment, the position is more difficult to assess. Such players hold down full time jobs in the week often working long hours. It is understandable that given their “commitment” to sport is perhaps only on a Saturday afternoon, their approach to diet and nutrition is not exact. Some semi-professional players will take medication to ensure that they can simply work through the week without necessarily any consideration as to how the same may impact on their performance on a Saturday. Unfortunately the amount and type of medication which can be easily purchased over the internet gives scope to non-compliance with the Rules.

The penalties for breaching the NADP Rules are severe, and can ultimately result in a playing ban for 2 years; effectively curtailing a promising career. This can be the case even when the medication has been taken in good faith and without any intention to enhance performance. The onus is firmly on the player.

The Rules also cover circumstances in which a player refuses to give a sample for testing.

So, players and clubs should be aware of: 1. Any guidance issued by the

Swansea Office - SA6 8QP Whitland Office - SA34 0NG Fishguard Office - SA65 9AL St Davids Office - SA62 6RD

governing body such as a list of banned substances (the World Anti-Doping Association “WADA” Prohibited List)

2. The fact that drug testing is random and can occur at any time during the season

3. The fact that the NADP Rules do provide for a further “B” sample in the event that the first “A” sample proves inconclusive

4. If medication is taken consistent with Therapeutic Use then the athlete may be exempt.

In summary, if in any event there is a need for medication, players (and clubs) should firstly consult the Prohibited List and if appropriate obtain expert guidance on use of any medication.

Wishing you future success in your sporting endeavours!

For more information please contact Christian Edwards for an informal discussion on 01792 773 773 or email

T: 01792 773 773 T: 01994 503 101 T: 01348 873 671 T: 01348 873 671 www. JCP Solicitors is the trading name of John Collins and Partners LLP

issue20twothousand&twelve sportingwales

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