Rugby Union players Stafford and Kay banned from sport

Rugby Union players Joseph Stafford and Rupert Kay have been banned from all sport, following the commission of two separate Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs). Joseph Stafford has been banned for three and a half years for Evading Sample Collection, while Rupert Kay has been banned for two years for Complicity.

This case was charged by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), and the independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) approved the final agreements reached between the players and the RFU.

On 21 February 2019, Mr Stafford was selected for Out-of-Competition testing at the Hull RUFC training ground. In order to avoid being tested, he asked his teammate, Mr Kay to help him leave the training ground. Mr Kay agreed to help Mr Stafford avoid testing and drove him away from the training ground.

Pat Myhill, UK Anti-Doping Director of Operations said: “Committing an anti-doping rule violation is not just about providing a positive test result. By avoiding testing and helping somebody in your team to do so, you are not just compromising the integrity of your sport but also breaching anti-doping rules. These offences are just as serious as failing a test for a banned substance.

“It’s important you are fully aware of the consequences of ‘not doing’ something – whether that’s not checking medications, not managing supplement risks, or in this case, not taking or refusing to take a test. All of these can lead to a ban from sport, so it’s important athletes and athlete support personnel are fully aware of all ten anti-doping rule violations and the consequences of breaching them.”

The RFU charged Mr Stafford with breaching World Rugby Regulation 21.2.3 – ‘Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to Sample Collection’. Mr Stafford admitted the charge and considering his prompt admission, his ban was reduced by six months to a total of three and a half years. Starting on the date of his provisional suspension, 16 July 2019, Mr Stafford’s ban will expire at midnight on 15 January 2023.

Mr Kay was charged with breaching World Rugby Regulation 21.2.9 – ‘Complicity’. Mr Kay admitted the charge and accepted that a two-year ban applies. Mr Kay’s ban began on 16 July 2019, the date of his provisional suspension and will expire at midnight on 15 July 2021.