Rally driver banned for eight years

Rally driver Paul Bird has been suspended from all sport for a period of eight years following a second Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV).

Mr Bird was one of six drivers selected to submit to In-Competition sample collection following the Rallynuts Stages (Seven Valley Stages) Rally at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells (the Rally), on 14 April 2018.

However, Mr Bird refused to provide a sample before departing the venue, despite being informed by UK Anti-Doping’s (UKAD) Doping Control Personnel that this could result in a sanction. Mr Bird also signed a Doping Control Form to confirm his understanding of the consequences of not providing a sample.

Mr Bird was charged with an ADRV pursuant to Article 2.3 of the Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) namely, “Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to submit to Sample Collection”.

Mr Bird’s case was referred to the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) for a hearing. The NADP tribunal was comfortably satisfied that Mr Bird refused to submit to sample collection in breach of Article 2.3 of the ADR.

UKAD’s Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, said: “It is clear in the Anti-Doping Rules that refusing to provide a sample will be treated as seriously as a failed test. Mr Bird was aware of this, having been warned of the consequences by Doping Control Personnel at the time.

“UKAD will always aim to secure the strongest possible sanctions for those who do not adhere to anti-doping procedures; treating the concept of clean sport with complete contempt.”

Mr Bird previously served a two-year ban, having tested positive for benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine) and furosemide (a diuretic) following an In-Competition test on 11 July 2015.

Mr Bird’s eight-year period of ineligibility shall apply from the date of notification of the charge (11 July 2018) until midnight on 10 July 2026. Mr Bird is also disqualified from the Rally with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of points, prize and appearance money, if applicable.

To read the full judgement, please click here.