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Anti-doping & boxing - Comparing the cases of Amir Khan and Connor Benn

Boxing Gloves
Wednesday, 26 April 2023 By Alastair Campbell

Amir Khan being found guilty of two Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs), and given a two-year ban from sport, follows Conor Benn being charged for an anti-doping violation by UK Anti-Doping.  Both athletes asserted the prohibited substance in their system was there due to contamination. Unusually, Khan was able to rebut the presumption of “intentionality” despite not being able to prove the source of the prohibited substance in his system.1

Contamination from food or supplements is often relied on by athletes seeking to establish that the presence of a prohibited substance in their system is not intentional, or as the basis for a plea of “No (or No Significant) Fault or Negligence2 (which can eliminate or reduce the athlete’s period of ineligibility). However, contamination is notoriously difficult to prove, and it is rare for athletes to escape sanction entirely, even where contamination can reliably be established, if they have not exercised a very high degree of caution – particularly in supplement cases.

This article reviews the UKAD v Khan3 decision, and the handling of the Conor Benn4 case.

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Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell

Alastair is a sports lawyer and partner at Level.  He acts for clients in the sports sector across a broad range of issues, from contractual matters to questions of public law.  He also specialises in conduct, disciplinary and regulatory work, advising on non-contentious issues such as the drafting of regulations and procedures, as well as acting on contentious disciplinary matters (including cases related to betting and integrity).  He is experienced in advisory work and has extensive knowledge of regulatory structures in football. 

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