UK Athlete bans updated in line with Code changes

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has today announced the seven athletes whose bans from sport have been updated and reduced to three months due to changes introduced in the new 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (Code), specifically in respect of ‘Substances of Abuse’.  

Lance Randall, Adam Hoskins, AJ Roberts, Luke Traynor, Daniel Bridge and Conner Duthie previously received two-year bans from UKAD for violations under the 2015 Code. Similarly, Ricky Miller received a two-year ban from The FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission for violating anti-doping regulations. Each athlete received their ban after returning adverse analytical findings (AAF) for the presence of either cocaine or THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis), as a result of In-Competition testing. Each athlete subsequently established that the drugs were taken Out-of-Competition in a context unrelated to sport performance. 

The 2021 Code, which came into effect on 1 January introduced a new sanctioning framework expressly for drugs that are now identified on the 2021 Prohibited List as ‘Substances of Abuse’. Cocaine and THC, as well as MDMA and heroin, have been identified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as part of this new framework. While they are banned In-Competition, they have also been acknowledged as substances that are frequently abused in society, outside of sport.  

Where an athlete can establish their use of the substance took place Out-of-Competition and in a context unrelated to sport performance, they will now face a three-month ban. 

Speaking on the changes to the ‘Substances of Abuse’ sanctions, UKAD Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead said: “We are utilising the changes to the Code to support athletes with issues arising from recreational drug use. The new Substances of Abuse sanctions and its newly introduced treatment programme will ensure that athletes’ health and wellbeing are being prioritised where there is no suggestion of the drug being used for performance enhancement.  

“Our message is clear. This is in no way a green-light for athletes to use these drugs socially - they are still illegal. Three months is still a notable ban from sport and covers all participation including training, which will be valuable time lost for any athlete. We will repeatedly come after athletes who continue to make the wrong choices.”  

In line with 2021 Code Articles 27.3 and 10.2.4.1, all seven athletes’ bans have been reduced from two years to three months. All seven athletes have already served more than three-months of their initial bans. Taking this time into consideration, they are now allowed to return to sport.  

Technical terms  

Substances of Abuse includes those Prohibited Substances which are specifically identified as Substances of Abuse on the Prohibited List because they are frequently abused in society outside of the context of sport. The 2021 WADA Prohibited List designates the following as Substances of Abuse: cocaine, diamorphine (heroin), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA/‘ecstasy’), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).