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The FA V Nathaniel Mendez-Laing – A New Approach To Substances Of Abuse In Sport

The FA V Nathaniel Mendez-Laing – A New Approach To Substances Of Abuse In Sport
Wednesday, 10 March 2021 By Philip Hutchinson

On 12 February 2021 The FA published the written reasons[1] in the case of The FA v Nathaniel Mendez-Laing[2]. This case concerned charges brought by The FA against the Player under The FA Anti-Doping Regulations 2019-20[3] (19-20 ADR), following the Player having provided a urine sample after his match for Cardiff City FC against Bristol City FC on 4 July 2020 which subsequently tested positive for metabolites of cocaine.

The Player was notified of his anti-doping rule violation (“ADRV”) on 14 August 2020 and provisionally suspended from participating in all first team and non-first team matches from that date. He was formally charged by The FA on 12 November 2020. Following evidence being submitted by both parties, the case was heard by a Regulatory Commission on 20 January 2021.

This article examines:

  • The new Substances of Abuse regime
  • The principle of 'lex mitior' (the less severe law applies)
  • Conclusion

It is important to note that at the time of being charged, the Player was subject to the 19-20 ADR. However, by the time the case was heard, the 19-20 ADR had been replaced with the updated, and significantly amended, FA Anti-Doping Regulations 2021[4] (2021 ADR). The 2021 ADR incorporated the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations 2021[5] (which in turn reflected the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code[6]) and came into force on 1 January 2021.

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Written by

Philip Hutchinson

Philip Hutchinson

Phil is a Senior Associate at Mills & Reeve specialising in sports litigation and sports regulatory matters, with a particular focus on the football industry. Phil has worked on a number of high profile integrity/match fixing and doping cases across a variety of sports and also regularly advises football clubs, agents and players on transfers, most notably where work permits are required. 

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