Press release from UKAD

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) today confirmed that ice hockey player Ben Solder received a one-month ban from all sport following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the presence of a banned substance in his urine sample.

On 30 March 2022, UKAD collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr Solder at a game between Manchester Storm and Sheffield Steelers. Analysis of Mr Solder’s urine Sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine.

Cocaine is listed under section S6A of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2022 Prohibited List as a stimulant. It is a non-specified substance that is prohibited In-Competition only. Cocaine is also identified as a ‘Substance of Abuse’ in the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (the Code).

The UK Anti-Doping Rules (ADR), which implement the Code for sports in the UK, set out specific rules on how ADRVs related to these substances should be managed. Shorter bans of three months are now available for such substances when found In-Competition if their use takes place Out-of-Competition in a context unrelated to sport performance. A further reduction in the length of ban, down to one month, is available if an athlete satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment programme approved by UKAD.

On 23 May 2022, UKAD notified Mr Solder that he may have committed ADRVs pursuant to ADR Articles 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance) and 2.2 (Use of a Prohibited Substance), and provisionally suspended him.

On 10 June 2022, Mr Solder responded to UKAD admitting that he had taken cocaine Out-of-Competition, in a context unrelated to sport performance. UKAD engaged a scientific expert to assess the credibility of Mr Solder’s explanation. The expert concluded that Mr Solder more likely than not ingested cocaine Out-of-Competition.

On 8 July 2022, UKAD charged Mr Solder with a violation of ADR Article 2.1. Mr Solder accepted the charge and the asserted period of Ineligibility of three months. Mr Solder also indicated in his response that he was undertaking a Substance of Abuse treatment programme approved by UKAD.

On 24 July 2022, UKAD received a written report from the practitioner involved in Mr Solder’s treatment programme. UKAD reviewed the contents of the practitioner’s report in accordance with its ‘Substance of Abuse: Policy for determining approved treatment programmes’ and deemed that Mr Solder was eligible for a further reduced period of Ineligibility of one month, in accordance with the Anti-Doping Rules.

Mr Solder was afforded credit for the time he had spent provisionally suspended (since 23 May 2022). His period of Ineligibility was therefore deemed served at the date of the decision in his case and he has been fully eligible to participate in sport since 26 July 2022.

Speaking on the case, UKAD Chief Executive Jane Rumble said: “Athletes need to be aware of the risks when using ‘recreational drugs’ in a social setting. They risk damaging their health, as well as their careers, and a ban from sport even if they take something at a time when they are not competing.

“It is reassuring that Mr Solder chose to complete a Substance of Abuse treatment programme approved by UKAD. These programmes help athletes to recognise the dangers of substance misuse, educating them further on the impacts and where to get the help they may need.”

IHUK Clean Sport Lead, Dr Matt Robbins, said: “Ice Hockey UK remain absolutely committed to the principles of Clean Sport.

“We continue to work in partnership with UKAD to ensure that our athletes are aware of their responsibilities and are able to make informed decisions in the best interests of their health and sporting performance.”