14th May 2021
Welsh rugby union player Ellis Richards has been banned from all sport for four years following a first Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the Use of a Prohibited Substance.
On 13 August 2018, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) collected an Out-of-Competition urine Sample from Mr Richards. Three days later, he met with his rugby coaches to express concerns following the Sample collection and admitted to ingesting a Prohibited Substance.
Despite analysis of Mr Richards’ urine Sample not revealing the presence of any Prohibited Substances, during an interview with UKAD Mr Richards confirmed he had spoken to his coaches about using a substance, which he had identified as clenbuterol.
Clenbuterol is an anabolic agent used to gain muscle and burn fat. The drug is banned at all times under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2018 Prohibited List.
Speaking on the case, UKAD Director of Operations Pat Myhill said: “Athletes are reminded that they are solely responsible for, and should be aware of, what they are putting in their bodies at all times.
“Athletes should be checking all supplements and medications they are planning to ingest on Informed Sport and Global DRO without fail. This should be routine practice for all athletes. However, we strongly recommend a food first approach to nutrition because there are no guarantees that supplements are free from prohibited substances.
“Clenbuterol has no place in sport. In contact sports, there are many hidden side effects to anabolic agents that could cause irreparable damage to the individual and their fellow athletes. Therefore, there is zero tolerance in sport for these substances.”
On 7 May 2019, UKAD issued Mr Richards with a Notice of Charge and a Provisional Suspension. Mr Richards contested the charge, and the matter was referred to the independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) for determination. The NADP considered the evidence and banned Mr Richards from all sport for four years. Mr Richards appealed the decision. However, the appeal was dismissed by the independent NADP Appeal Tribunal and the four-year ban was upheld. As Mr Richards’ Provisional Suspension commenced on 7 May 2019, his ban will run until 6 May 2023 inclusive.