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Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

13.36 21 Apr 2020


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It has been reported that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will review the full judgement of James Cronin's one-month doping ban.

It was revealed yesterday that the Munster prop was punished for what European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said was "an unintentional anti-doping violation" last November.

The ban runs from 15 April until May 16 but as part of standard procedure WADA will now review the case before deciding if they should appeal, according to the Irish Independent.

The 29-year-old Ireland international was randomly selected for an in-competition anti-doping test after Munster's Heineken Champions Cup match against Racing 92 at Thomond Park last November.

Cronin tested positive for prednisolone and prednisone which are banned substances under Section 9 of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List.

He had no Therapeutic Use Exemption permitting the use of both substances and after investigating his case it was referred by the EPCR to an independent Judicial Officer.

The EPCR disciplinary decision reads: "Prior to the match against Racing 92, Cronin had been unwell and had been prescribed antibiotics, however, the pharmacy dispensed medication to him which was intended for another customer.

"The Judicial Officer accepted evidence that the banned substances in the player’s sample were due to a dispensing error by the pharmacy and that the anti-doping violation was entirely unintentional.

"Although the Judicial Officer found that there was no significant fault on behalf of the player, and that there were clear and compelling mitigating factors, he determined that the player had to bear some responsibility for what was in his sample."

Sport Ireland, like WADA, also have the right to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Cronin said in his statement yesterday that he has volunteered to take part in an educational forum to help raise awareness with other rugby players.

He also said: "These past few months have been very trying for myself and my family and I am glad that this issue has been resolved so that I can focus fully on rugby when it resumes.

"I accept that this is a strict liability offence and that even though the medication taken was due to a very serious and unexpected dispensing error, it has taught me a very valuable lesson that I hope my fellow players and any other athletes can also learn from.

"I am confident that my friends, fellow players, the rugby media and rugby public will understand that I never acted with any intent nor in any manner to intentionally compromise the EPCR tournament."

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