UK Anti-Doping has confirmed that a former player, the former chief executive and a former assistant coach of Hull Rugby League Football Club have been banned for a total of seven years following anti-doping rule violations.
Former Chief Executive James Rule and conditioning coach Ben Cooper were charged with conspiring with player Martin Gleeson to cover up the circumstances which led to Mr. Gleeson testing positive for a banned stimulant.
Mr. Gleeson was charged by UK Anti-Doping in June 2011 with committing an anti-doping rule violation after he tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine on 13 May 2011. He was banned for two years by the National Anti-Doping Panel (following a hearing on 9 June 2011), and later admitted lying to the National Anti-Doping Panel about the circumstances that led to him testing positive. Mr Cooper and Mr Rule were charged with being complicit in these lies, in violation of Rule 2.5 of the RFL’s Anti-Doping Rules.
Mr Gleeson agreed to a three-year ban being imposed by the National Anti-Doping Panel, with half that ban suspended in recognition of his providing assistance to UK Anti-Doping. Mr Cooper agreed to a two-year ban, with half also suspended. Mr Rule did not contest the charge made against him by UK Anti-Doping, and has been banned for two years by the National Anti-Doping Panel.
UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson said: “This case marks two firsts for the anti-doping community. It is the first time that tampering with the doping control process in this manner has resulted in a violation, and the first time that members of an athlete’s entourage have been convicted of anti-doping rule violations in the UK.
“In a hearing before the National Anti-Doping Panel, athletes and their entourage are obliged to tell the truth, or the system will fail, and this case makes clear the penalties for not doing so.
“Once again, this highlights to the sporting community that UK Anti-Doping will aggressively pursue all types of anti-doping rule violation. While all eyes are on the London Games this year, we continue to work on behalf of clean athletes in every sport.
“I would like to thank the RFL for their support and assistance throughout this process which has reinforced Rugby League’s ongoing commitment to tackling the issue of doping in sport.”
RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood added: “Such behaviour is unacceptable and this case has brought the sport of rugby league into disrepute. We must applaud UK Anti-Doping for the hours of work they have put in to conduct a detailed and extensive investigation.
“We have assisted UK Anti-Doping throughout their investigation and these results show that doping of any kind will not be tolerated in our sport.”
The sanctions apply to Martin Gleeson from 13 June 2011 to 12 November 2012, Ben Cooper from 9 June 2011 to 8 June 2012 and James Rule from 9 June 2011 to 8 June 2013.
The full written decisions can be found online here.
Notes to Editors:
World Anti-Doping Programme and Code
The World Anti-Doping Programme was developed and implemented to harmonise anti-doping policies and regulations within sport organisations and among governments.
The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the document that harmonises regulations regarding anti-doping in sport across all sports and all countries of the world. The Code provides a framework for anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations for sport organisations and public authorities.
ARTICLE 2: ANTI-DOPING RULE VIOLATIONS
Athletes or other Persons shall be responsible for knowing what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation and the substances and methods which have been included on the Prohibited List.
The following constitute anti-doping rule violations:
2.5 Tampering or Attempted Tampering with any part of Doping Control.
[Comment to Article 2.5: This Article prohibits conduct which subverts the Doping Control process but which would not otherwise be included in the definition of Prohibited Methods. For example, altering identification numbers on a Doping Control form during Testing, breaking the B Bottle at the time of B Sample analysis or providing fraudulent information to an Anti-Doping Organization.]
The full World Anti-Doping Code is available online here.