Wheelchair Rugby League England international returns to sport after receiving 13-month ban for banned substance

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) have confirmed that following proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Wheelchair Rugby League player Wayne Boardman has received a 13-month ban from sport following a first Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) after the detection of a Prohibited Substance in his urine Sample.

Boardman’s ban is deemed to have commenced on 26 June 2021 and is therefore available for inclusion in England’s Wheelchair squad for the upcoming World Cup.

On 26 June 2021, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr Boardman following a Mid-Season International match between England and Wales Wheelchair Rugby League teams. Analysis of Boardman’s urine Sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for metabolites of oxandrolone.

Oxandrolone is an anabolic androgenic steroid. The drug is banned at all times under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Following that statement by UK Anti-Doping, the RFL and England Performance Unit have confirmed the background to Wayne Boardman’s inclusion in the England squad for the forthcoming Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.

On being informed of Wayne Boardman’s Adverse Analytical Finding following last summer’s international against Wales, he was, in accordance with the Anti-Doping Regulations, provisionally suspended from all competitions. This meant he was not considered for the home Tests against France last November.

Following the decision of the National Anti-Doping Panel in February 2022, that the Anti-Doping Rule Violation charges were proved, but that there should be no period of ineligibility on the basis of the Player having ‘no fault or negligence’, the player’s suspension from the game was lifted.

Given the importance to the RFL of the sport being clean, the RFL convened an England eligibility panel – which also ruled, having considered all the circumstances, that the player could be considered for selection for the England Team.

He has trained with England since his suspension was lifted, and his form has earned him selection for the RLWC. Following an appeal which was heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the original decision of ‘no fault or negligence’ has been replaced by one of ‘no significant fault or negligence’ and a 13-month period of ineligibility imposed. This expired in July 2022 and Wayne Boardman is therefore eligible to play Rugby League.

In light of the appeal decision, the England eligibility panel determined that Wayne Boardman should be available for World Cup selection.