Welsh Rugby Union player Burgess banned for two years

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) player, Mike Burgess has been suspended from all sport for a period of two years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). This case was charged by UKAD and the decision was made by an independent tribunal of the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP). The athlete appealed the decision however, it was dismissed by an NADP Appeal tribunal.

Mr Burgess provided a urine sample In-Competition on 20 October 2018, following a Welsh Premiership match between his club, Aberavon RFC and Bargoed RFC. Analysis of Mr Burgess’ sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine.

Cocaine is listed under section S6a (Stimulants) of the WADA 2018 Prohibited List as a Stimulant. It is a non-Specified Substance and its presence in an athlete’s system is prohibited In-Competition only.

Mr Burgess was charged with violating Anti-Doping Rule Article 2.1 - "Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample”.

Pat Myhill, UK Anti-Doping Director of Operations said: “Cocaine is a dangerous drug with significant health risks, which has no place in sport. Even if taken in a social setting Out-of-Competition, athletes need to be aware it can stay in their system and that they can still receive a ban from sport if they test positive for the drug In-Competition. This case is one of many examples where cocaine use has resulted in an athlete receiving a ban from sport.

“The length of bans issued for cocaine can vary between cases, which is due to the flexible sanctioning framework set out in the Anti-Doping Rules. In Mr Burgess’ case, an independent expert witness ruled out the possibility that ingestion of cocaine took place during the In-Competition period. This means that a possible four-year ban was reduced to two years.”

Acknowledging Mr Burgess’ timely admission of the ADRV, the period of ineligibility started on 20 October 2018. Mr Burgess’ two-year period of ineligibility will, therefore, end at midnight on 19 October 2020.