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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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About the Author

Philip Hutchinson

Philip Hutchinson

Senior Associate, Mills & Reeve

Phil is a Senior Associate at Mills & Reeve LLP 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. He also has extensive experience in representing agents, players and managers in both the High Court and FA Rule K arbitration cases. Phil is the only individual in the West Midlands to be ranked as a “Next Generation Sports Lawyer” (Legal 500 2019) and a “Rising Star” (Legal 500 2020), who also describe him as “emerging as a confident and capable litigator”. Phil speaks German and is also a member of the Sport Resolutions Pro Bono Panel.

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