Skip to main content

Rugby League player Adam Rusling serves three-month ban for taking cocaine and MDMA

Rugby League player Adam Rusling serves three-month ban for taking cocaine and MDMA

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has confirmed that Rugby League player Adam Rusling received a three-month ban from all sport following Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for the presence of Prohibited Substances cocaine and MDMA 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 18 June 2023, UKAD collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr Rusling at a game between Hunslet RLFC and Cornwall RLFC. Analysis of Mr Rusling’s urine Sample returned Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, and MDMA (‘ecstasy’) and its metabolite, tenamfetamine. 

Cocaine and MDMA are listed under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2023 Prohibited List as non-Specified stimulants and are prohibited In-Competition only. The WADA 2023 Prohibited List also identifies both substances as ‘Substances 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.  

The ADR further require that a mandatory provisional suspension is imposed when notifying an Athlete that a non-Specified Prohibited Substance (such as cocaine or MDMA) has been detected in their Sample. Therefore, Mr Rusling was notified of his AAFs and provisionally suspended by UKAD on 2 August 2023. In the player’s responses, he admitted taking cocaine and MDMA, stating he had taken both substances Out-of-Competition during the evening of 16 June 2023. 

UKAD investigated the player’s responses, including instructing an independent scientific expert to examine the plausibility of the player’s explanation. Upon concluding its investigations, UKAD charged Mr Rusling on 12 December 2023 with the commission of ADRVs for the Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample. The player accepted the charges and a three-month period of Ineligibility.  

The ADR provide that Mr Rusling be afforded credit for the time he spent provisionally suspended (since 2 August 2023). In this case, Mr Rusling’s ban is therefore deemed fully served by virtue of his Provisional Suspension lasting in excess of three months. UKAD shares the outcome of this case today, following the expiry of the appeal deadline.

Mr Rusling’s case follows three recent published Rugby League cases, all involving cocaine. While shorter bans may be available for cocaine and other recreational drugs designated ‘Substance(s) of Abuse’, UKAD’s Director of Operations, Hamish Coffey warns about the impact these substances have on an athlete’s health and welfare: 

Stimulants such as cocaine and MDMA are harmful and addictive, and illegal in the UK. Athletes and their loved ones can have their lives impacted by ‘recreational drugs’, so it’s simply not worth the risk to their health or reputation in sport. The anti-doping rules are in place to keep athletes safe and to maintain a fair sport. We welcome the work sports like Rugby League, in conjunction with Rugby League Cares, are doing to tackle the use of recreational drugs among players, which includes awareness, education and support for those affected.” 

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 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.” 

Rugby League player Tobias Richardson serves three-month ban for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

Rugby League player Tobias Richardson serves three-month ban for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has today confirmed that Rugby League player Tobias Richardson received a three-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 2 July 2023, UKAD collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr Richardson at a game between Midlands Hurricanes and Dewsbury Rams. Analysis of Mr Richardon’s urine 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. The WADA 2023 Prohibited List also identifies cocaine 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.  

On 17 August 2023, UKAD notified Mr Richardson that he may have committed ADRVs in violation of the ADR. Mr Richardson was also provisionally suspended from this date. 

On 22 August 2023, Mr Richardson admitted that he had taken cocaine and that he had ingested it recreationally while in a social setting during the Out-of-Competition period on Friday 30 June 2023. UKAD instructed a scientific expert to examine whether the concentration of cocaine and benzoylecgonine detected in Mr Richardson’s Sample was consistent with the explanation he provided. The scientific expert’s opinion was that the Athlete’s explanation - that the cocaine had likely been consumed during the Out-of-Competition period - was scientifically plausible.    

Mr Richardson was charged by UKAD on 12 October 2023 with the commission of an ADRV under ADR Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athletes Sample). The player responded on 23 October 2023 accepting the charge and agreeing to the period of Ineligibility of three months asserted by UKAD.   

Mr Richardson has been afforded credit for the time he has spent provisionally suspended. His period of Ineligibility was lifted on 16 November 2023.  

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

Cocaine is prohibited in sport. It’s a harmful drug and violates the spirit of sport. The rules are clear on substances of abuse. Athletes risk their careers and their reputations by using cocaine.” 

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 Rugby League Cares.” 

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

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.”

Rugby League player Ryan Snowden banned for three years for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has confirmed that Rugby League player Ryan Snowden has been banned from all sport for a period of three years, following first Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for the Use and Presence of Prohibited Substances in his urine Sample.

On 13 December 2022, UKAD collected an Out-of-Competition urine Sample from Mr Snowden at a Batley Bulldogs RLFC squad test. Analysis of Mr Snowden’s urine Sample returned Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) for ostarine (enobosarm) and clenbuterol.

Ostarine and clenbuterol are listed under section 1.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2022 Prohibited List as Anabolic Agents. They are non-Specified Substances that are prohibited at all times.

On 10 February 2023, UKAD notified Mr Snowden that he may have committed ADRVs pursuant to Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample) and 2.2 (Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method) of the 2021 UK Anti-Doping Rules (ADR), and provisionally suspended him from that date.

Mr Snowden responded to UKAD’s Notice letter on 16 March 2023 admitting the ADRVs, explaining that he had taken a supplement that contained the Prohibited Substances.

UKAD charged Mr Snowden with both ADRVs on 05 April 2023, which Mr Snowden promptly accepted.

In accordance with ADR Article 10.8.1, Mr Snowden was able to reduce the four-year asserted period of Ineligibility to three years, after admitting the violations and accepting the asserted period of Ineligibility within twenty days of the Charge Letter.

Mr Snowden’s three-year ban from all WADA Code-compliant sport commenced on 10 February 2023 and will expire at midnight on 09 February 2026.

Speaking on the case, Hamish Coffey, UKAD’s Director of Operations said: “There is no place for anabolic steroids in sport and there are serious consequences for athletes caught taking them.

It is important that all athletes follow the Anti-Doping Rules and understand the risks associated with using supplements.”

The Rugby Football League added: “We support UKAD in their determination to ensure that sport is clean, and therefore in their testing programme in and out of competition, of part-time as well as full-time players. This is another example of how strict liability places responsibility on all athletes in these matters, and the serious repercussions of a positive test.”

Rugby League player Harry Tyson-Wilson receives three-year ban for Anti-Doping Rule Violations

Rugby League player Harry Tyson-Wilson receives three-year ban for Anti-Doping Rule Violations

Rugby League player, Harry Tyson-Wilson has been banned from all sport for a period of three years following Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for Use and Possession of a Prohibited Substance. 

On 18 May 2022, UKAD received information from the police regarding the production, manufacture, and supply of Prohibited Substances by and to a number of individuals. UKAD commenced an investigation and was subsequently able to identify Rugby League player Mr Tyson-Wilson as one of the purchasers of the Prohibited Substances.  

Evidence obtained by UKAD showed that on 6 March 2019, Mr Tyson-Wilson made a purchase of dianabol, a variant of metandienone. Metandienone is listed under S1(1) of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List as an Anabolic Androgenic Steroid and is a non-Specified Substance, which is prohibited at all times. 

UKAD interviewed Mr Tyson-Wilson on 7 March 2022, where he admitted to purchasing metandienone online in March 2019 and paying for it to be delivered to his home address. Mr Tyson-Wilson also accepted being in possession of the Prohibited Substance after its arrival at his home address.  

On 12 April 2023, UKAD notified Mr Tyson-Wilson that he may have committed two ADRVs contrary to Article 2.2 (Use or Attempted Use by an Athlete of a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method), and Article 2.6 (Possession of a Prohibited Substance and/or a Prohibited Method) of the 2015 UK Anti-Doping Rules (‘2015 ADR’). UKAD provisionally suspended the player from this date. 

On 18 May 2023, Mr Tyson-Wilson was charged by UKAD with both ADRVs. The player responded on 7 June 2023 admitting the charges and accepting the asserted period of Ineligibility of four years. 

Mr Tyson-Wilson benefited from a one-year reduction to his ban after admitting the violation and accepting the asserted period of Ineligibility within 20 days of receiving the Charge (pursuant to 2021 ADR Article 10.8.1).  

Mr Tyson-Wilson’s period of Ineligibility is deemed to have commenced from the date of his Provisional Suspension on 12 April 2023 and will end at midnight on 11 April 2026. 

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

Anabolic steroids have no place in sport. There are serious consequences for any Athlete caught in possession of them. It’s imperative that Athletes respect their responsibilities under the Anti-Doping Rules and conduct themselves with integrity both on and off the field.  

This case is a further example of the strong strategic collaborations UKAD has in place with law enforcement partners, and we thank them for their continued support in UKAD’s delivery of intelligence-led anti-doping programmes.” 

The Rugby Football League added, “We support UKAD in their determination to ensure that sport is clean, and in working with other law enforcement partners to do so.” 

Rugby League player Charley Bodman banned for 18 months for Anti-Doping Rule Violations

Rugby League player Charley Bodman banned for 18 months for Anti-Doping Rule Violations

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) today confirmed that Rugby League player Charley Bodman has been banned from all sport for a period of 18 months following Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for the Presence and Use of a Prohibited Substance.

On 25 April 2023, UKAD collected an Out-of-Competition urine Sample from Mr Bodman at a Cornwall RLFC training session. Analysis of Mr Bodman’s urine Sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for terbutaline.  

Terbutaline is listed under S3 of WADA’s 2023 Prohibited List as a beta-2-agonist and is prohibited at all times.

On 26 May 2023, UKAD notified Mr Bodman that he may have committed ADRVs pursuant to Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample) and 2.2 (Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method) of the 2021 UK Anti-Doping Rules (ADR), and provisionally suspended him.  

Mr Bodman responded to UKAD’s Notice letter, explaining that he had been prescribed the Prohibited Substance, terbutaline, to treat asthma. As an athlete on the National TUE Pool, Mr Bodman is required to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption in advance of taking terbutaline.

Mr Bodman did apply retroactively for a TUE, but the application was denied by UKAD’s independent TUE Fairness Review Panel. The Panel concluded that Mr Bodman had neglected his anti-doping duties by not applying for a TUE in advance of taking his prescribed medication.

As a result of the decision, Mr Bodman did not possess a valid and applicable TUE for terbutaline at the time his sample was collected. Mr Bodman was therefore charged by UKAD with both ADRVs on 8 September 2023.

The player’s legal representatives responded to both charges admitting the violations but submitting that they were not ‘intentional’ within the meaning attributed to that term by ADR Article 10.2.3. His representatives also submitted that Mr Bodman bore no Significant Fault or Negligence in this matter, and was entitled to a reduction to the otherwise applicable (2) year period of Ineligibility in accordance with ADR Article 10.6.1(b).

UKAD considered Mr Bodman’s evidence and submissions and does not assert that the ADRVs were ‘intentional’. UKAD also considers that Mr Bodman has established that he bore No Significant Fault or Negligence such that he is entitled to a reduction of six months, leaving him with a ban of 18 months.

Mr Bodman’s period of Ineligibility is deemed to have commenced on 26 May 2023 and will expire at midnight on 25 November 2024.

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

Medications prescribed by a doctor or bought over the counter may contain prohibited substances. It is an athlete’s responsibility to check their medication before using it, even if they have used it before.

It is also imperative that athletes check whether they are included in UKAD’s National TUE Pool and to understand that, if they are, they are required to apply for a TUE in advance of using medication that contains a Prohibited Substance.”

The Rugby Football League added, “The RFL supports UKAD in its testing programme of players at all levels of the sport, in and out of competition. Players are responsible for checking the contents of any medication before use.

The RFL works with RL Cares, the sport’s independent charity, to ensure support is available for players in cases such as this.”

UKAD’s Medicine and TUE Hub has information online for all athletes on how to check the anti-doping status of their medication. Athletes can also check whether they are included in the National TUE Pool. Visit UKAD’s Search Check Apply campaign for more information, including how and when to apply for a TUE.

Rugby League player Taylor Baddeley serves one-month ban for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

Rugby League player Taylor Baddeley serves one-month ban for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has today confirmed that Rugby League player Taylor Baddeley 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 8 April 2023, UKAD collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr Baddeley at a game between Castleford Tigers Academy and Wakefield Trinity Academy. Analysis of Mr Baddeley’s Sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for benzoylecgonine, a Metabolite of cocaine.  

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. The WADA 2023 Prohibited List also identifies cocaine 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 related 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 19 May 2023, UKAD notified Mr Baddeley that he may have committed ADRVs in violation of the ADR. Mr Baddeley was also provisionally suspended from this date.  

On 2 June 2023, Mr Baddeley admitted that he had used cocaine recreationally while in a social setting during the Out-of-Competition period. UKAD instructed a scientific expert to examine whether the concentration of benzoylecgonine detected in Mr Baddeley’s Sample was consistent with the explanation he provided. The scientific expert’s opinion was that cocaine had likely been consumed during the Out-of-Competition period.    

UKAD charged Mr Baddeley on 11 July 2023 with the commission of an ADRV under ADR Article 2.1 (presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athletes Sample). On 20 July 2023, Mr Baddeley accepted the charge and the asserted period of Ineligibility of three months. Mr Baddeley provided UKAD with a report following his completion of a Substance of Abuse treatment programme. UKAD reviewed the contents of the report and in accordance with its own policy ‘Substances of Abuse: Policy for determining approved treatment programmes’ granted a reduced period of Ineligibility of one month. 

Mr Baddeley has been afforded credit for the time he has spent provisionally suspended (since 19 May 2023). Mr Baddeley’s period of Ineligibility was lifted on 18 August 2023 and he is free to resume participation in sport. 

Speaking on the case, UKAD Chief Executive, Jane Rumble said: “Substances of Abuse as defined in the WADA Prohibited List are prohibited in sport because they represent a real health risk to the Athlete, and they violate the spirit of sport. Athletes caught using cocaine and other ‘recreational drugs’ Out-of-Competition may receive a ban from sport and risk jeopardising their playing career

The Substance of Abuse treatment programme supports Athletes to 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.” 

Rugby League player Rob Worrincy banned for three years for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has confirmed that Rugby League player Rob Worrincy has been banned from all sport for a period of three years following first Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for the Use and Presence of Prohibited Substances in his urine Sample.

On 20 January 2023, UKAD collected an Out-of-Competition urine Sample from Mr Worrincy at a Hunslet RLFC squad training session. Analysis of Mr Worrincy’s urine Sample returned Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) for ostarine (enobosarm), ibutamoren and GW1516 Metabolites; GW1516-sulfoxide and GW1516-sulfone.

Ostarine is listed under section 1.2 of the 2023 WADA Prohibited List as an Anabolic Agent. Ibutamoren is listed under section 2.4 of the 2023 WADA Prohibited List as a Peptide Hormone. GW1516 is listed under section 4.4 of the 2023 WADA Prohibited List as a Hormone and Metabolic Modulator. All three substances are prohibited at all times.

On 24 February 2023, UKAD notified Mr Worrincy that he may have committed ADRVs pursuant to Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample) and 2.2 (Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method) of the 2021 UK Anti-Doping Rules (ADR), and provisionally suspended him from that date.

Mr Worrincy responded to UKAD’s Notice on 01 March 2023 admitting the ADRVs, indicating that he had used a supplement that contained the Prohibited Substances found in his Sample.

UKAD charged Mr Worrincy with both ADRVs on 24 March 2023, which Mr Worrincy promptly accepted.

In accordance with ADR Article 10.8.1, Mr Worrincy was able to reduce the asserted four-year period of Ineligibility to three years, after admitting the violations and accepting the asserted period of Ineligibility within twenty days of the Charge Letter

Mr Worrincy’s ban from all WADA Code-compliant sport commenced on 24 February 2023 and will expire at midnight on 23 February 2026.

Speaking on the case, Hamish Coffey, UKAD’s Director of Operations said: “Athletes who violate the Anti-Doping Rules face a ban from sport. It is important that all athletes follow the Anti-Doping Rules and understand the risks associated with using supplements.”

The Rugby Football League added: “We support UKAD in their determination to ensure that sport is clean, and therefore in their testing programme in and out of competition, of part-time as well as full-time players. This is another example of how strict liability places responsibility on all athletes in these matters, and the serious repercussions of a positive test.”

Upcoming Events