PCA PRESS RELEASE

Chris Wright, PCA and World Players’ Association respond to National Anti-Doping Panel verdict.

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Following a hearing in May between the Cricket Regulator and Chris Wright, today, Monday 1 July, it has been announced that Leicestershire bowler Wright has accepted a nine-month suspension following testing positive for a trace amount of a banned substance, Ostarine.

Wright admitted the anti-doping violations, albeit they were committed inadvertently and unknowingly because of his use of a contaminated supplement, which the Cricket Regulator accepted. The National-Anti Doping Panel agreed Wright had no intention to breach the Anti-Doping rules.

The 38-year-old’s suspension is backdated to October 2023, when he was provisionally suspended pending the investigation and proceedings, and he is therefore available for selection from 19 July, having already returned to training.

“It is not fair or reasonable to place innocent athletes on suspensions and lengthy bans, when a trace amount of a substance confirms athletes are victims of contamination.”

IAN THOMAS

Leicestershire bowler, Chris Wright has released the following statement:

“I was shocked to find out that I had tested positive for trace amounts of a banned substance on a single occasion back in October 2023. I had been using a fruit supplement at the time, purchased from a well-known manufacturer, which had no sports performance-enhancing capability. I disclosed this fully on my doping control form before I provided a sample, as required, that returned the adverse result.

“I was extremely fortunate that with the help of scientific experts, I was able to identify that the supplement was contaminated with Ostarine, a synthetic substance that ought not be in any food product in the UK, and the Cricket Regulator accepted this. There has been no explanation from the supplement manufacturer as to how that came to be and, as the independent panel’s decision in my case shows, I did not intend to take such substance, nor could I have even known the supplement was contaminated with it.

“The panel found that I bore no significant fault and I am pleased this matter has been resolved so that I can resume playing soon, after what has been an extremely difficult and trying time for me and my family. I am back in training and looking forward to my full return.

“I would like to thank the PCA for their support during the period of my suspension as this matter was resolved. Their help, support and guidance has been invaluable. I would also like to thank Leicestershire CCC, in particular Claude Henderson and Alfonso Thomas, for their support during this difficult period. They have been extremely patient and supportive during the whole process and have been keen to get me back playing as soon as possible. Lastly, I want to thank my family. Their love and positivity has helped me immensely during what has also been a really challenging time for them. I will always be grateful.”

PCA Managing Director of Member Services, Ian Thomas, said:

“We are pleased Chris is now back in training and able to continue his career from 19th July. Sadly, Chris has been victim of a contamination case. It acts as a reminder to all our members of the danger of supplement usage. This could have prematurely ended Chris’ professional playing career.

“The stress on Chris and his family’s lives has been extreme since he was suspended in October 2023 and the PCA has worked closely with him and his legal team, in particular Craig Harris, to achieve the best possible outcome and ultimately, save his career.

“The PCA is extremely concerned at the lack of thresholds of banned substances, such as Ostarine in this case, providing a positive test, when it is clear there is no intent or scientific evidence to show athletes have genuinely taken banned substances. We are extremely concerned that these substances remain a risk when contaminating supplement or food produce.

“The PCA is working with the World Players’ Association in lobbying WADA for a full review on this.

“WADA play a vital role in ensuring a clean sport with zero tolerance to performance-enhancing drug usage. However, it is not fair or reasonable to place innocent athletes on suspensions and lengthy bans, when a trace amount of a substance confirms athletes are victims of contamination.”

Head of the World Players’ Association, Matthew Graham, said:

“WADA’s inconsistent approach to contaminated supplements is having a devastating and unnecessary impact on the livelihoods and wellbeing of athletes worldwide.

“Despite long having had the opportunity to change the Rules, it has failed to do so and it is lagging, rather than leading, as the regulator of the global anti-doping movement.

“The World Players’ Association has tabled best practice solutions with WADA in relation to issues with contaminants which it should urgently implement if it is to rebuild athlete trust and confidence in the system.”

The full decision on Chris Wright’s case is available here.