Eighty nine players in the clear after doping blitz
RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood has expressed his pride after all 89 Engage Super League players involved in an intensive out-of-competition drugs testing programme tested negative for banned substances.
Over a three-day period in November, 119 blood and urine tests were conducted on the 89 players from 11 different clubs by a team of testers from the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) agency which made impromptu visits to the players at their clubs and homes.
The subsequent analyses of blood and urine samples looked for traces of all performance enhancing drugs, including human growth hormone and steroids - and all the players came out 100 per cent clean.
“Whilst I am not surprised by the results, it is nevertheless a matter of some pride for the players and the sport that all 119 tests came back negative,” said Wood.
“In terms of participation levels, no other sport is more vigilant when it comes to doping than Rugby League and we will continue to work closely with both UKAD and our players and clubs to ensure we remain as clean and safe as possible.
“As pleased as we are, there will be no relaxation of vigilance following this terrific set of results, for which I hope the players and the sport are given due credit.”
The testing conducted in November was only the second time UKAD have employed such an intensive testing programme and follows on from a similar programme in cycling.
Rugby League has been fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code since 2005. UK Ant-Doping conducts more than 600 tests each year at all levels of Rugby League, which is among the top three most-tested sports, alongside football and cycling.
The RFL has a robust and comprehensive drugs education programme, details of which are delivered to all Rugby League players on an annual basis.