Rugby League

16 Nov 2023

UKAD Statement | Taylor Baddeley

UKAD Statement | Taylor Baddeley

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has today confirmed that Rugby League player Taylor Baddeley received a one-month ban from all sport following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the presence of a Prohibited 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 8 April 2023, UKAD collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr Baddeley at a game between Castleford Tigers Academy and Wakefield Trinity Academy. Analysis of Mr Baddeley’s 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) 2023 Prohibited List as a stimulant. It is a non-Specified Substance that is prohibited In-Competition only. The WADA 2023 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 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 19 May 2023, UKAD notified Mr Baddeley that he may have committed ADRVs in violation of the ADR. Mr Baddeley was also provisionally suspended from this date.

On 2 June 2023, Mr Baddeley admitted that he had used cocaine recreationally while in a social setting during the Out-of-Competition period. UKAD instructed a scientific expert to examine whether the concentration of benzoylecgonine detected in Mr Baddeley’s Sample was consistent with the explanation he provided. The scientific expert’s opinion was that cocaine had likely been consumed during the Out-of-Competition period.    

UKAD charged Mr Baddeley on 11 July 2023 with the commission of an ADRV under ADR Article 2.1 (presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athletes Sample). On 20 July 2023, Mr Baddeley accepted the charge and the asserted period of Ineligibility of three months. Mr Baddeley provided UKAD with a report following his completion of a Substance of Abuse treatment programme. UKAD reviewed the contents of the report and in accordance with its own policy ‘Substances of Abuse: Policy for determining approved treatment programmes’ granted a reduced period of Ineligibility of one month.

Mr Baddeley has been afforded credit for the time he has spent provisionally suspended (since 19 May 2023). Mr Baddeley’s period of Ineligibility was lifted on 18 August 2023 and he is free to resume participation in sport.

Speaking on the case, UKAD Chief Executive, Jane Rumble said: “Substances of Abuse as defined in the WADA Prohibited List are prohibited in sport because they represent a real health risk to the Athlete, and they violate the spirit of sport. Athletes caught using cocaine and other ‘recreational drugs’ Out-of-Competition may receive a ban from sport and risk jeopardising their playing career. 

“The Substance of Abuse treatment programme supports Athletes to recognise the dangers of substance misuse and identify where to turn to for support in the future.”

The Rugby Football League and Rugby League Cares, the sport’s independent charity which leads on player welfare, added:

“Rugby League supports UKAD in its testing programme of players at all levels of the sport, in and out of competition, and in this case specifically the recent introduction of the Substance of Abuse programme following positive tests for recreational drugs – supporting players in recognising the dangers of substance misuse, and explaining the range of options for ongoing support – which in Rugby League is led by RL Cares.”