UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has today confirmed that Rugby league player Rangi Chase received a three-month ban from all sport following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the presence of a banned substance in his urine Sample. At the time of this announcement, the ban has been served and the player is free to resume participation in sport.
On 17 September 2022, UKAD collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr Chase at a Betfred League 1 match between Rochdale Hornets and North Wales Crusaders. Analysis of Mr Chase’s urine Sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine.
Cocaine is listed under section S6A of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2022 Prohibited List as a stimulant. It is a non-specified substance that is prohibited In-Competition only. The 2022 Prohibited List also identifies cocaine as a ‘Substance of Abuse’.
The UK Anti-Doping Rules (ADR), which implement the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code for sports in the UK, set out specific rules on how ADRVs related to Substances of Abuse should be managed. Shorter bans of three months are now available for such substances when found In-Competition, if their ingestion takes place Out-of-Competition and in a context unrelated to sport 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.
On 31 October 2022, UKAD notified Mr Chase that he may have committed ADRVs in violation of the ADR. Mr Chase was also provisionally suspended from this date.
On 8 November 2022, Mr Chase admitted that he had taken cocaine and that he had ingested it Out-of-Competition in a social setting. UKAD instructed a scientific expert to examine whether the concentration of benzoylecgonine detected in Mr Chase’s Sample was consistent with the explanation he provided. The scientific expert’s opinion was that cocaine had more likely than not been administered during the Out-of-Competition period.
UKAD proceeded to charge Mr Chase on 13 December 2022 with the commission of an ADRV under ADR Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance). On 13 December 2022, Mr Chase accepted the charge and the asserted period of Ineligibility of three months.
Mr Chase has been afforded credit for the time he has spent provisionally suspended (since 31 October 2022). His period of Ineligibility therefore expired at midnight on 30 January 2023, and he is now eligible to return to sport.
Mr Chase has previously committed two ADR Article 2.1 violations. He served a two-year period of Ineligibility, further to a decision issued on 1 November 2017 and a further one-month period of Ineligibility following a decision dated 14 January 2022.
Speaking on the case, UKAD Chief Executive, Jane Rumble said: “Mr Chase has previously completed a Substance of Abuse treatment programme, which supports athletes to recognise the dangers of substance misuse and identify where to turn to for support in the future.
“We recognise the harmful side-effects and consequences of using so-called ‘recreational drugs’. While it has been established that this athlete did not use a Prohibited Substance to improve performance, his use of it outside of sport has nevertheless led to a ban.
“When taking such drugs, athletes risk their livelihood, their reputation as professional sportspersons, the loss of respect from teammates and the trust of the sport they compete in.”
The Rugby Football League added: “We support UKAD in their determination to ensure that sport is clean, and therefore in their testing programme for recreational as well as performance-enhancing drugs.
“We continue to prioritise education of players at all levels, working with our charity partners RL Cares, regarding the harmful side-effects of recreational drugs, as well as the potential impact of a positive test.”