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Anti Doping - Important Changes

20 February 2004

As from 1.1.2004 the International Rugby Board and the Rugby Football Union have adopted the 2004 World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) list of Prohibited Substances and Methods.


Adoption of this code has led to some important changes in the doping regulations effective from 1st January 2004.


Summary of major changes from 1.1.04


  • Glucocorticosteroids - systemic use continues to be prohibited when administered orally, rectally or by intravenous or intramuscular injection. This is unchanged from 2003.


However, use by all other routes ie inhalation, local or intra-articular injections, topical, aural, nasal, ophthalmic or for the purpose of life saving treatment is permitted only with prior notification using a Declaration of Medication Form. This means that all Glucocorticosteroid containing medication given by these routes needs to be declared i.e. Glucocorticosteroid containing asthma inhalers, local injections, Glucocorticosteroid containing creams and Glucocorticosteroid containing ear, nose and eye preparations.


These substances need to be notified to the RFU using the Prohibited Substances Player Notification Form. This form is available at the following address: If a player tests positive for Glucocorticosteroids and their use in these defined permitted circumstances has not been notified in advance then this may be deemed to be a positive test.

As a number of these Glucocorticosteroid containing preparations are available over the counter (OTC) you will need to talk to your squads regarding the continued need to check the legality of all OTC medication. For example Beconase nasal spray and 1% Hydrocortisone cream will now need notifying before their use.


  • Cannabinoids (Marijuana) - are now classified as a banned substance and will be screened for in all "In Competition" tests (tests conducted after a match). Cannabis is a substance that may be detected many weeks after use depending on how heavy the use has been.


  • Local Anaesthetics are no longer part of the 2004 WADA prohibited list and their use is no longer covered as part of the Doping regulations. Their use when permitted no longer needs notification. The IRB now defines their use in Medical regulation 10 which states that the use of local anaesthetics remains prohibited in rugby when used on match days unless for the suturing of bleeding wounds or for dental treatment.


  • Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) - now falls under the Anabolic agent class as an analogue and will be tested for in all samples.


The full 2004 WADA Prohibited list is available on the WADA website  under Standards and Harmonisation / WADA Code / International standards / Prohibited List.


Comments on the important changes to the WADA list can be found at


Caffeine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine have been removed from the prohibited list but their use will continue to be monitored. You should note that ephedrine remains on the prohibited list.


The UK Sport document refers to the submission of Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) requests when use of a prohibited substance is being considered on medical grounds. These processes are not currently in place within Rugby and the previous position whereby there is no therapeutic use exemption remains. We will update you when this changes. This is likely to be in mid-April. 


Finally, please note that PMP is undertaking a review of the work of UK Sport (the body that undertakes the anti-doping testing programme on behalf of the RFU) and is inviting comments from athletes and governing bodies.  Any player that wishes to can contribute to this review by completing the questionnaire at the address below:


Bob Rogers                     Terry Burwell

Chairman,                        Community Rugby & Operations Director

Governance Committee