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Athlete cocaine use: the cases of Dale Swift, Graham Gibbons & Dan Evans

Drugs on black blackground
Friday, 19 January 2018 By Graham Gilbert

Cocaine is, famously, addictive. It would appear news stories regarding athletes indulging in the white powder are, too: between 28 September and 5 October 2017, four athletes were banned from their respective sports for breaches of their sport’s governing bodies anti-doping code of conduct after they provided samples which tested positive tests for cocaine or its metabolites (although the drug involved in Jack Burnham’s case has not been identified it is believed to be cocaine). Those sportsmen were:

  1. Jockey Dale Swift,1 who was banned for 21 months by the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority;

  2. Tennis player Dan Evans,2 who was banned for a year by the International Tennis Federation;

  3. Cricketer Jack Burnham,3 who also received a year ban; and

  4. Graham Gibbons,4 another jockey, who received a 6 month ban from the same tribunal as Mr Swift.

As of 9 October, the name of rugby league player Zak Hardaker5 must be added to the list of sportspeople who have tested positive for cocaine, after a sample he provided on 8 September tested positive. Similarly, on 23 October, Edinburgh and Scotland Rugby Union flanker John Hardie6 was suspended for alleged use of the drug.

This article reviews three of the above cases, namely that of Dale Swift, Graham Gibbons and Dan Evans. In doing so, it provides an overview and brief comparison of the relevant anti-doping rules.

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Graham Gilbert

Graham Gilbert

Graham is a barrister at 3PB. Having gained a wealth of knowledge in other areas, Graham has most recently begun accepting instructions in sports law matters and has a keen interest in regulatory and disciplinary aspects of the area, both domestically and internationally. He regularly prosecutes in prohibited substance matters for the British Horseracing Authority, as well as assisting with other disciplinary matters on the Authority's behalf.

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