Sports lawyers in B P Collins LLP’s wider dispute resolution group recently represented a Welsh Premier League rugby player before the UK’s National Anti-Doping Panel in connection with disciplinary charges over doping allegations.

The circumstances were unfortunate. Charges were pursued by UK Anti-Doping on behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union after the player tested positive for a prohibited substance, having taken medication by a consultant doctor for a newly diagnosed condition. However, an exemption was not sought in advance, as is required by the rules, and a charge was laid after the player tried and failed to obtain a retrospective exemption for its use.

With a ban of four years or longer on the line, and no argument that the medicine had been taken, the charges carried career-ending consequences. However, following an initial case management hearing and a review of written submissions provided on the player’s behalf prior to the hearing, UK Anti-Doping conceded that the player’s actions had not been ‘intentional’, such that the appropriate ban should be limited to a much-reduced period of two-years with credit given for time voluntarily suspended, and agreed to withdraw the proceedings.

Although it was not possible to argue that no offence had been committed, crucially, the finding of ’no intention’ kept the ban and the reputational impact on the player to a minimum.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss issues of this nature, or disputes within the wider sports and leisure industries, please contact B P Collins’ disputes team at or call 01753 889995.

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