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Rangi Chase given ban following positive drugs test

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) today confirmed that Rugby League player Rangi Chase has received a one-month ban from all sport following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the presence of a banned substance in his urine sample. Mr Chase has already served this ban and is therefore free to resume participation in sport.

The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (The Code) and 2021 Prohibited List introduced a new category of substances, identified as ‘Substances of Abuse’.

The Code sets out specific rules on how ADRVs related to these substances should be managed from 2021. Shorter bans of three months are now available for such substances when found in-competition if their use is determined to have taken place out-of-competition and is unrelated to sports performance.

A further reduction in the length of ban, down to one month, is available if an athlete satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment programme approved by UKAD. Mr Chase is the first athlete in the UK to complete such a programme.

On 5 September 2021, UKAD collected an in-competition urine sample from Mr Chase at a Betfred League 1 match between his team, the Rochdale Hornets, and Barrow Raiders. Analysis of Mr Chase’s urine sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine.

On 19 October 2021, UKAD notified Mr Chase of the AAF and provisionally suspended him. In response, Mr Chase acknowledged that he had taken cocaine and explained that this had occurred out-of-competition, in a private social setting.

UKAD subsequently charged Mr Chase with the commission of an ADRV. Mr Chase admitted the charge on 15 December 2021, and it was established with the assistance of a scientific expert that Mr Chase had used cocaine out-of-competition on a date prior to his match on 5 September 2021.

Mr Chase also indicated in his response to the charge that he had completed a five-day residential treatment programme. UKAD reviewed the contents of the practitioner’s report provided on Mr Chase’s behalf in accordance with its own ‘Substances of Abuse: Policy for determining approved treatment programmes’.

UKAD was satisfied that Mr Chase’s residential treatment programme constituted a Substance of Abuse treatment programme. As such, Mr Chase was therefore eligible for a further reduced ban of one month in accordance with the new provisions introduced by The Code as contained within the Anti-Doping Rules.

Taking into account the time spent provisionally suspended since 19 October 2021, Mr Chase’s ban is now deemed served and he has been fully eligible to participate in sport since receiving UKAD’s issued decision on 14 January 2022.

Mr Chase previously served a ban from sport for two years from 2017.

Speaking on the case, UKAD Acting Chief Executive, Pat Myhill said: “Mr Chase is the first athlete to complete a Substance of Abuse treatment programme approved by UKAD, which allowed his ban to be reduced to one month.

“This programme requires athletes to address their historical and current issues with substance use through focused educational and therapeutic sessions. The programme helps athletes to recognise the dangers of substance misuse and identify where to turn to for support in the future, should they need to do so. It is encouraging that Mr Chase took up the opportunity to engage with a treatment programme in this case.

“In line with the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code, we are placing a greater emphasis on the health and wellbeing of athletes to assist them with getting the help they may need.

“We are working hard to educate them on the harmful side-effects and consequences of drug-use. Athletes need to be aware that even when they use so-called ‘recreational drugs’ in a social setting, they risk damaging their health, as well as their careers, and can be banned from sport.”

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