UK Anti-Doping has responded to claims made by former Leigh Centurions forward Jamie Acton that he was offered a drug test ‘deal’.
Acton had previously told Serious About Rugby League: “The people at UK Anti-Doping contacted me to ask if they could come to see me,” Acton said.
“They said ‘you’re not in trouble but we want to speak to you about something. We want to make you an offer and ask you about how we can improve testing procedures to better understand why players dope in rugby league’.
The offer, Acton revealed, was staggering: “I was offered a deal which basically meant if I was willing to provide names of other players who then tested positive, they would take away or reduce my ban.
“It’s a completely legitimate policy, it’s not like a secret thing.”
That legitimate policy was echoed by UK Anti-Doping when contacted by Serious About Rugby League as a spokesperson clarified the situation.
When asked about the ‘deal’, one person said: “The World Anti-Doping Code (The Code) contains specific provision for ‘Substantial Assistance’ (Article 10.7.1). The Code sets the global anti-doping framework for everyone. Anti-Doping Organisations are required to include Substantial Assistance in their own anti-doping rules to ensure they are Code-compliant and to achieve harmonisation amongst Anti-Doping Organisations. The Substantial Assistance provisions in the UK Anti-Doping Rules appear at Article 10.7.1.
“Substantial Assistance, in short, allows an individual facing Anti-Doping Rule Violation proceedings to provide information and/or assistance to an Anti-Doping Organisation (such as UKAD) either before or after a decision is reached in their own case. Where that information and/or assistance results in the discovering or bringing forward of another Anti-Doping Rule Violation (or criminal offence or breach of professional or other sport rules) by another person, this may lead to a suspension of some of the period of Ineligibility (ban) in the case.
“Please note that a suspension is not the same as a reduction in the length of a ban. No more than three quarters of a ban can be suspended under the Substantial Assistance provision and if the information/assistance is provided after the individual’s own case has already been determined, then the World Anti-Doping Organisation (WADA) and the relevant International Federation would also need to approve the suspension.
“Substantial Assistance is important to Anti-Doping Organisations being able to discover and bring forward other doping violations in sport and to catch cheats.”