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Rugby League player Harry Aaronson serves one-month ban for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has today confirmed that Rugby League player Harry Aaronson received a one-month ban from all sport following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the presence of a Prohibited Substance in his urine Sample. At the time of this announcement, the ban has been served and the player is free to resume participation in sport.

On 21 May 2023, UKAD collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr Aaronson at a Betfred League 1 game between Rochdale Hornets and Cornwall RLFC. Analysis of this Sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for cocaine and its Metabolite benzoylecgonine.

Cocaine is listed under section S6A of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2023 Prohibited List as a stimulant. It is a non-Specified Substance that is prohibited In-Competition only and known as a ‘Substance of Abuse’.

The UK Anti-Doping Rules (ADR), which implement the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code for sports in the UK, set out specific rules on how ADRVs relating to Substances of Abuse should be managed. Shorter bans of three months are available for such substances when found In-Competition if their ingestion takes place Out-of-Competition and in a context unrelated to sport performance. A further reduction in the length of ban, down to one-month, is available if an Athlete satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment programme approved by UKAD.

On 3 July 2023, UKAD notified Mr Aaronson that he may have committed ADRVs in violation of the ADR. Mr Aaronson was also provisionally suspended from this date.

On 7 and 14 July 2023, Mr Aaronson responded to UKAD’s notice letter, admitting that he had taken cocaine recreationally in a social setting during the Out-of-Competition period. UKAD instructed a scientific expert to examine whether the concentration of cocaine and its Metabolite benzoylecgonine detected in Mr Aaronson’s Sample was consistent with the explanation he provided. The scientific expert’s opinion was that Mr Aaronson’s explanation was plausible.   

UKAD charged Mr Aaronson on 1 September 2023 with the commission of an ADRV under ADR Article 2.1 (presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample). On 4 September 2023, Mr Aaronson accepted the charge and informed UKAD that he had completed a Substance of Abuse treatment programme, and shared the treatment programme report with UKAD. UKAD reviewed the contents of the report and in accordance with its own policy ‘Substances of Abuse: Policy for determining approved treatment programmes’ was able to grant a reduced period of Ineligibility of one month.

Mr Aaronson has been afforded credit for the time he has spent provisionally suspended (since 3 July 2023). Mr Aaronson’s period of Ineligibility is therefore deemed served and he is free to resume participation in sport.

Speaking on the case, UKAD Director of Operations, Hamish Coffey said:

Athletes need to abide by the Anti-Doping Rules and know that using cocaine and other ‘recreational drugs’ Out-of-Competition can still result in a ban from sport.

These drugs carry serious health risks to Athletes. The Substance of Abuse treatment programme helps Athletes recognise the dangers of substance misuse and identify where to turn to for support in the future.”

The Rugby Football League and Rugby League Cares, the sport’s independent charity which leads on player welfare, added:

Rugby League supports UKAD in its testing programme of players at all levels of the sport, in and out of competition, and in this case specifically the recent introduction of the Substance of Abuse programme following positive tests for recreational drugs – supporting players in recognising the dangers of substance misuse, and explaining the range of options for ongoing support – which in Rugby League is led by RL Cares.”

Welsh rugby union player Kaiden Carnell receives three-year ban for Anti-Doping Rule Violations

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) player Kaiden Carnell has been banned from all sport for a period of three years following Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for the Presence and Use of a Prohibited Substance. 

On 9 March 2023, UKAD collected an Out-of-Competition urine Sample from Mr Carnell at a Ystrad Rhondda squad training session. Analysis of Mr Carnell’s urine Sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for oxandrolone.  

Oxandrolone is a Prohibited Substance listed under S.1 of the 2023 WADA Prohibited List. It is an Anabolic Androgenic Steroid, which is prohibited at all times. 

On 14 April 2023, UKAD notified Mr Carnell that he may have committed ADRVs pursuant to Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance in an Athlete’s Sample) and 2.2 (Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance) of the 2021 UK Anti-Doping Rules (ADR). Mr Carnell was also provisionally suspended from all World Anti-Doping Code-compliant sport from that same date.  

Mr Carnell responded to UKAD’s Notice letter on 24 April 2023, admitting the ADRVs. UKAD charged Mr Carnell with both ADRVs on 2 June 2023. On 16 June 2023, Mr Carnell responded to the Charge Letter, confirming that he had used oxandrolone, and admitting both ADRVs and the applicable consequences. 

Under ADR Article 10.8.1, Mr Carnell’s prompt admission of the ADRVs afforded him a one-year reduction to his ban.  

Speaking on the case, Hamish Coffey, UKAD Director of Operations, said:  

The Anti-Doping Rules apply to all Athletes. Those rules are here to keep players safe and protect the integrity of sport. All participants in the sport of rugby union are liable for the consequences of their actions should they violate the Anti-Doping Rules.  

Rugby is a team sport. Doping impacts the whole team. It’s not worth the risk. Always play clean and respect the rules of the game.” 

Mr Carnell’s period of ineligibility is deemed to have commenced on 14 April 2023 (the date of the provisional suspension) and will expire on 13 April 2026. 

Egyptian squash Player Moustafa Elsirty accepts a 6-month period of ineligibility

Egyptian squash Player Moustafa Elsirty accepts a 6-month period of ineligibility


The ITA confirms that a sample collected in-competition from Moustafa Elsirty on 10 November 2022 at the 2022 FISU World University Championship Squash returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for the prohibited substance terbutaline.

Terbutaline is classified as a beta-2 agonist on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) prohibited list. It is banned for athletes at all times, during and between competitions.

The case was resolved via an acceptance of consequences pursuant to Article 8.3.1. of the World Squash Federation’s anti-doping rules. The athlete accepted a sanction of a 6-month period of ineligibility from 10 March 2023 until 9 October 2023. The athlete’s individual results from 10 November 2022, including the 2022 FISU World University Championship Squash, until 10 March 2023 have also been disqualified.

The prosecution of the matter was handled by the ITA on behalf of the World Squash Federation.

Result of an Enquiry (L. Williams) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on 17 June 2021

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1. The Independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) met on 17 June 2021 to consider the allegation that Mr Levi Williams was in breach of Rule (K)49 of the Rules of Racing.  (A Jockey must ensure that no Banned Substances is present in their body).  A urine sample collected from him at Wolverhampton Racecourse on 29 January 2021 showed the presence of the banned substances benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine) and THC-acid (a metabolite of cannabis).