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Cinderford's Ridler escapes playing ban over twitter drug comments

By Sportsnews  |  Posted: October 13, 2012

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Cinderford Colt player Chance Ridler will have to go on anti-doping courses after admitting posting comments on twitter about using and distributing performance enhancing drugs.

A nine-month playing ban was, however, suspended for two years as long as Ridler completes the courses and is registered  on the RFU National Registered Testing Pool for the rest of the season.

The RFU Disciplinary Panel chairman Christopher Quinlan QC said: "The offending is serious. Twitter did not exist before 2006 and its popularity continues to grow. "Those who use social networking and micro-blogging services must appreciate they are public forums. Once posted on a public time line any person who is able to access the Twitter network can read it. 

"It is a public statement. Those in the Game who wish to use such a service must do so responsibly."The sanction we impose is one which we hope makes clear that offending of this kind, namely the wholly irresponsible use of (in this case) Twitter will not be tolerated. It is intended to be a deterrent both to this Player and to others who might be tempted to use Twitter or a similar service to make inappropriate, offensive, insulting and/or abusive comments about those within or without the rugby world or, as in this case, about drugs."

The RFU statement last night read:

On 2 October 2012 Chance Ridler of Cinderford RFC appeared before a Rugby

Football Union Disciplinary Panel at the Bristol Filton Holiday Inn, and

admitted the following breach of Rule 5.12 of the Rules of the RFU (2011-12):

"…on dates between 16th April 2012 and 2nd July

2012, Chance Ridler, Cinderford RFC, made statements on his Twitter account (1)

that he was using Performance Enhancing Drugs; (2) that he was distributing

Performance Enhancing Drugs; and/or (3) encouraging others to use Performance

Enhancing Drugs."

The RFU Panel determined that Ridler's conduct was a serious breach of rule

5.12 (conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the Game) for the

following reasons:

  1. The content of the tweets: anabolic steroids are on the WADA prohibited

    list. They are prohibited both in and out of competition. Mr Ridler, as a

    rugby player, was prohibited from using or dealing in steroids. Moreover,

    anabolic steroids are Class C controlled drugs in the UK. Thus, whilst it is

    legal to possess or import/export anabolic steroids for personal use and in the

    form of a medicinal product, possession or import/export with intent to supply

    and manufacture is illegal unless authorised by a licence of the Secretary of

    State. On their face the tweets admitted using steroids, encouraged others to

    use them and offered to supply them.

  2. The Player's position: he was coaching children and young persons. To make

    public statements, accessible by anyone including those children and young

    persons, encouraging the use of steroids and "tabs" is completely

    inappropriate and is manifestly prejudicial to the interests of the game. The

    gravamen is that anyone reading those tweets on his public time line would

    conclude this coach, associated with a professional and Premiership rugby club,

    uses and condones, indeed encourages, the use of performance enhancing drugs;

    still further he can supply them to others.

  3. The number of offending tweets posted.
  4. The tweets were posted on his public time line when he had a not

    insignificant number of followers.

Ridler is therefore suspended from playing for nine months, with the

suspension suspended for two years, from 2 October 2012, on the following

conditions:

  1. Within three months of 2 October 2012 the Player must complete

    satisfactorily the following:

  1. Steps 1 and 2 of the UKAD 'Accredited UK Anti-Doping Advisor' Course, namely

    the "e-learning programme" and the "knowledge check"; and

  2. The IRB 'Real Winner' Anti-Doping Education Programme.

  1. It is recommended that the Player be included immediately in the RFU

    National Registered Testing Pool for the remainder of the 2012-2013 season.

The RFU Disciplinary Panel comprised of Chairman Christopher Quinlan QC, Mike

Curling and Nick Dark. Chairman Christopher Quinlan QC commentated:

"The offending is serious. Twitter did not exist before 2006 and its

popularity continues to grow. Those who use social networking and micro-blogging

services must appreciate they are public forums. Once posted on a public time

line any person who is able to access the Twitter network can read it. It is a

public statement. Those in the Game who wish to use such a service must do so

responsibly. Those who do not, risk condign punishment.

"The sanction we impose is one which we hope makes clear that offending

of this kind, namely the wholly irresponsible use of (in this case) Twitter will

not be tolerated. It is intended to be a deterrent both to this Player and to

others who might be tempted to use Twitter or a similar service to make

inappropriate, offensive, insulting and/or abusive comments about those within

or without the rugby world or, as in this case, about drugs".

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  • richardpenton  |  October 14 2012, 10:09AM

    But the spotter doesn't want to discuss issues like this in his fluffy-wuffy bunny-wunny nicey-nicey world.

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