An amateur rugby player registered with the RFU in England has been banned from all sport for four years after he was found to have violated anti-doping rules. A package containing Human Growth Hormone was seized en route to his home, leading to the investigation.
On 12 July 2018, UK Border Force seized a package en route to Mr Rainbow’s home address which contained items used in the process of injecting Human Growth Hormone.
Human Growth Hormone is a prohibited substance in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) Prohibited List 2018.
Mr Rainbow admitted to the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) on 16 January 2020, that he attempted to purchase a prohibited substance to enable himself to continue playing rugby.
The package that was seized contained 11x flat cardboard box packaging labelled “Glotropin-8IU recombinant Human Growth Hormone for Injection”, 11x sheets of decals/stickers labelled as Human Growth Hormone for Injection and 20 glass vials of clear liquid substance labelled “global anabolic.org”.
Rainbow explained that he had given a friend £200 to buy the package for him.
The RFU stated that despite never receiving the package, he could be charged with possession.
“The act of purchasing a prohibited substance alone constitutes possession, even where, for example, the product does not arrive, is received by someone else, or is sent to a third-party address.”
He was charged by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) with two violations – Possession (by purchase) and Use or Attempted Use. The case was referred to the independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) by the RFU for determination. Mr Rainbow did not contest the charges.
RFU Anti-Doping and Illicit Drugs Programme Manager Stephen Watkins said: “All rugby players are subject to the anti-doping rules which are in place to protect players and the integrity of our sport.”
Ralph Rainbow has been banned from 30 September 2020 until 29 September 2024 (taking into account his provisional suspension).