A recent National Anti-Doping Panel case involving a cyclist who tested positive after winning two races at the UCI World Track Masters in Manchester in October 2013 resulted in a relatively short ban.
The cyclist Bruce Croall relied on Article 10.4 of the WADA Code 2009, which allows the length of a ban to be reduced or eliminated if an athlete can show that he did not take the specified substance with the aim of enhancing his sporting performance.
Following the UCI World Track Masters, Croall provided urine samples on 6 and 9 October and these tested positive for Oxilofrine, a "specified substance", under the UCI’s Anti-doping rules.
Following notification of his possible violations, the athlete obtained an independent analysis of a supplement, Dorian Yates Nox Pump (Pump) which he suspected of being the source, although the list of ingredients that appeared on Pump’s packaging made no reference to Oxilofrine. Croall’s subsequent independent testing of the same batch confirmed the presence of Oxilofrine. Further, a boxer, Brian Magee, tested positive in December 2012 after taking Pump.
The Panel found that both doping violations had been proved and that the athlete had clearly demonstrated that Oxilofrine entered his body through his ingestion of Pump. As a result of the joint approach of the parties, the Panel accepted that Croall did not intend to enhance his performance by taking the specified substance and that this was the appropriate interpretation of Article 10.4 . However, the Panel did find that Croall was at fault to a certain degree and therefore imposed a six month suspension.
The case highlights the need for athletes to be properly advised on the options available to them so that they can effectively rely on the Code to ensure the shortest ban possible in the circumstances. We have advised a number of athletes on doping matters so please get in touch if you would like some advice.