World Anti-doping code

The updated World Anti-Doping Code comes into effect from the 1st January 2015. This is the first update to the core document that harmonizes anti-doping rules and processes across sports and countries since 2009. It is therefore imperative that those it directly impacts in cricket are aware of this new version of the Code and what it means for them.

There are a number of changes that both cricketers and cricketer support personnel should be aware of, but in simple terms the key points are:

  • Increase in sanction for serious offences to 4 years.
  • Less serious offences are now more likely to receive 2 year sanction than the reduced sanctions seen under the previous Code.
  • There are 2 new anti-doping rule violations – complicity and prohibited association. This means there are now 10 in total.

UKAD have a dedicated 2015 Code microsite that includes factsheets for athletes and support personnel which focus on role specific aspects of the new Code. These factsheets have been provided to all First Class Counties and all changes to the WADA Code will be addressed with professional players during pre-season awareness sessions.

To reflect the changes to the Code the ECB Anti-Doping Rules have also been updated for 2015 and can be found below or through the ECB website.

ECB Anti-Doping Rules 2015

World Athlete Anti-Doping Code 2015


For help and support with any drug related issue, please contact the PCA Confidential Helpline on 0844 800 6873

Legal highs - a group of substances or products that are important to be aware of

1)      An obvious starting point is that using the type of substances termed legal highs is not conducive to being a professional athlete and the physical and mental demands this brings.

2)      They are not always legal – mephedrone (not to be confused with methadone) which is probably the most talked about ‘legal high’ is now a class b drug (illegal to possess or supply).

3)      The government’s attempts to address the issue can inadvertently cause further problems. Manufacturers may use unknown or new chemicals to substitute those which have been made illegal with no real understanding of how they may affect a person other than they are similar to those previously used.

4)      The term ‘legal high’ compounds this issues by almost adding credibility, giving some sort of security to the user. Many products are also given (brand) names to add to this still further – e.g. Bliss, Cherry Bomb, Happy Caps (the list is almost endless).

5)      There is also of course no legislation on what goes into these type of products, it could be anything, no requirement to be safe for humans, I think many in fact carry warnings that they aren’t or at least are really for another purposes e.g. again citing mephedrone I am sure that this carried labelling as some sort of plant food.

6)      They are prohibited under anti-doping rules. Although they may not be explicitly included on the prohibited list they would fall under the catch all ‘other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s)‘ which is very important to recognise when considering new ‘substitute’ substances that are being developed to replace those the government is making illegal. I would say on the whole most legal highs are amphetamine, stimulant type substances and so would fall under the S6 Stimulants category of the prohibited list.

7)      Much like illicit drugs these are obviously not very good for your health and there are regular cases linking to death.




A new pilot testing procedure is being introduced to test players for drugs. The initial round of testing will cover all players registered
to play first-class cricket, and will look for a wide range of drugs, including cocaine and cannabis. The new pilot testing is designed primarily to establish whether there is a drug problem in cricket,
and if so, how widespread it is. Based on national statistics and
the results from other sports where similar programmes have
been undertaken, it would be surprising if we don’t get some
positive results – the question is how many? 

All results will be in strict confidence. Anyone who does get a
positive result will receive communication from Dr Nick Peirce,
the ECB’s Chief Medical Officer, who will help to decide whether counselling or treatment are needed. Counties will only be informed
if it is felt it would be beneficial to involve them in a player’s treatment – and then only with that player’s consent. 

Please note that any positive test in this pilot test will not count as a ‘strike’ when the full testing programme is introduced. We will provide further information before then, however we expect that at that stage, a first positive test will lead to counselling, but repeat positives will lead to disciplinary action. 

We have put together some questions and answers below, but if you have any further queries, do not hesitate to get in touch with either Jason Ratcliffe or Angus Porter.  





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1. Who is being tested? 

All players registered to play first-class cricket are being screened in the pilot testing.

2. What is the purpose of this pilot test? 

The purpose is to establish how widespread any problem is, which will in turn allow the ECB to design the testing protocol (which will be on a random basis) for the on-going test programme. It is also being used to assess different testing providers and to select which of them will be contracted to do the testing on an on-going basis.

3. Why is hair testing being used? 

It has the advantage of giving a longer history (around three months) and means that testing can (a) be less frequent, and (b) can be planned, rather than undertaken at short notice.

4. What does the test involve? 

This will be explained by the testers, but it will be quick and straightforward.

5. What happens if I miss the test? 

There will be a follow-up – everyone will be tested in the pilot stage.

6. What if I refuse to undertake the test? 

We strongly advise you take the test. Firstly, the tests are confidential. Secondly, a positive test will lead to help rather than punishment. And thirdly, if you refuse to participate, it will be assumed you have something to hide and you will be targeted when the full programme is implemented (at that stage, refusal to comply will be a disciplinary offence).

7. What happens after the test? 

If the outcome is negative, you will hear nothing. If it is positive, you will receive communication from the ECB’s Chief Medical Officer to discuss whether you need counselling or treatment.

8. Who will know the results? 

Only the testing provider (who have signed strict confidentiality agreements, and are used to dealing with confidential and sensitive matters), Dr Peirce, and anyone you agree to be referred to. The ECB and PCA senior management will be given an overview of the test results, but will not be told the names of people who have tested positive. If you need treatment, Dr Peirce will discuss with you whether it would be beneficial for your County to be involved – but any communication to the County will only be with your permission.

9. If I think it is likely I will test positive, is there anything I can do? 

You may decide to seek help in advance and it will certainly do no harm to do so. However, to preserve your anonymity, you should also proceed with the test. If you need help, you can call the PCA Confidential Helpline (0844 800 6873), contact Jason Ratcliffe, or get in touch with Dr Nick Peirce by emailing

10. What if I have further questions?

Contact Jason Ratcliffe on 07768 558050, or Angus Porter on 07584 262083,, either of whom will be happy to talk to you in strict confidence. 




The most effective way to avoid any trouble with the ECB’s Anti-Doping Code is to be aware of what it says and what it covers. 

The ECB/PCA Education Programme has all the information you need to know about the Anti-Doping Code. If you have any questions, call or email Ian Smith (contact details below). There is no such thing as a stupid question in is this area, particularly as mistakes can have such serious consequences.

The Anti-Doping Code     

Click here to view the ECB's Anti-Doping Code. 

The ECB has a full-time Anti-Doping Officer to coordinate everything in this area (contact details below).

Please remember, the consequences of an anti-doping rule violation can be catastrophic – a first offence could get you banned from cricket for up to two years. Don’t get caught out.

Helping the fight against doping in sport

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UK Anti-Doping have a confidential phone line where you can securely pass on information or suspicions about doping activities in elite sport with guaranteed anonymity.

For more information on this service, click here

Further Information

Vital sources of information are:

If you have any questions please contact Ian Smith on 07798 698201 or