Rugby League player Lea banned for four years
Rugby league player Andrew Lea has been banned from all sport for four years following Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for the presence of prohibited substances.
On 9 January 2020, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) collected an out-of-competition urine sample from Mr Lea at a Rochdale Hornets training session. Analysis of Mr Lea’s urine sample returned Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) for drostanolone and its metabolite, and a metabolite of trenbolone.
Drostanolone and trenbolone are anabolic steroids which artificially improve athletic performance and are prohibited at all times.
Mr Lea admitted the ADRVs and provided an explanation where he acknowledged taking a product called ‘TTM’, but only to improve his physical appearance. Mr Lea said that he understood ‘TTM’ contained trenbolone and drostanolone, but that he did not know what those steroids were.
Mr Lea accepted that he is not able to show that his ADRV was not ‘intentional’ (as that term is defined in the Anti-Doping Rules). In these circumstances a four-year ban applies.
Speaking on the case, UKAD’s Director of Operations, Pat Myhill said: “Athletes have a responsibility to themselves, their fellow athletes and sport to ensure that they are adhering to the Anti-Doping Rules in order to keep sport clean. This includes double checking all products, supplements and medications for prohibited substances. It is not enough to say ‘I didn’t know they were steroids’.
“Athletes should familiarise themselves with the Prohibited List each year, and use Informed Sport and Global DRO to check their products before ingesting. The onus is on the athlete to know exactly what they are putting into their bodies at all times.”
Mr Lea first accepted the ADRVs two weeks after receiving the Notice of Charge from UKAD. UKAD considers this a timely admission as set out in the Anti-Doping Rules, therefore his four-year ban started on 9 January 2020 and will end at midnight on 8 January 2024.
Drostanolone and its metabolite 2α-methyl-5α-androstan-3α-ol-17-one, and trenbolone metabolite 17α-epitrenbolone were found in Mr Lea’s urine Sample. This resulted in ADRVs contrary to ADR Article 2.1 for ‘Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample’.
The term ‘intentional’ is defined in ADR Article 10.2.3 and requires that an Athlete engaged in conduct which they knew constituted an ADRV, or knew that there was a significant risk that the conduct might constitute or result in an ADRV and manifestly disregarded that risk. As Mr Lea’s case concerned two non-Specified Substances, the evidential burden was on him to establish that his ADRVs were not intentional.
ADR Article 10.11.2 sets out that where an Athlete admits the ADRV promptly after being confronted by it by UKAD, the ban may start as early as the date of Sample collection or the date on which the ADRV last occurred. This is known as ‘Timely Admission’.