POSTED: Thursday February 26th 2009

RFU statement on Matt Stevens

The Rugby Football Union condemns the use or distribution of prohibited substances or methods as defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

ENGLAND Team Manager Martin Johnson this evening gave his reaction to Matt Stevens\’ two-year suspension for an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

Johnson said: \“I have said all through this episode that there is no place in sport or society for illegal drug use.

\“Matt chose to take a banned substance and will now have to accept the consequences. He will not be involved in rugby for two years and for a professional sportsman that will be a very tough experience.

\“Matt has admitted that he has a problem and is seeking help. We support him in that but all rugby players must understand that they are responsible for their actions, and that includes lifestyle choices. \”

The Rugby Football Union condemns the use or distribution of prohibited substances or methods as defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

The RFU operates a robust in and out of competition testing programme conducted and co-ordinated by UK Sport in compliance with the WADA International Standard for Testing.

Since adopting the WADA Code in season 2004-5 there have been over 1700 in and out of competition tests on rugby players in England across all levels.

In those four-and-a-half seasons there have been 14 Anti-Doping Rule Violations or \“positive tests\”. This is an average of less than three doping violations per season.

Under the RFU and International Rugby Board Anti-Doping Regulation 21 any player may be tested anytime, anywhere. Players may be selected to provide a sample at random or be subject to target testing without prior notice, at matches, squad training sessions or as part of an individual out of competition testing programme.

The RFU invests considerable time, effort and money in the fight against doping and one of its Strategic Plan objectives is to become a world leader in this field.

The RFU is the only Union of the IRB to have a full time Anti-Doping Officer. Gavin Dovey joined the RFU from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) in December 2006. From January 5, 2009 he has been assisted by Tom Cleary.

Gavin is responsible for managing and developing the RFU Anti-Doping Programme including policy, testing, education and results management. Gavin works closely with the Guinness Premiership clubs and England representative squads and he liaises with players, coaches and medical teams on a day to day basis across all areas of anti-doping.

In partnership with UK Sport and Premier Rugby Ltd, the RFU have developed a comprehensive anti-doping education strategy and programme using UK Sport\‘s nationally recognised 100% ME campaign.

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Keywords · Rugby Football Union · Matt Stevens

Name: Dave Barton
Organization: Rugby Football Union
Phone: +44 (0)1453 845333

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